Black Lips: 'Starting Over,' Against All Logic

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Wednesday's Pick

  • Song: "Starting Over"
  • Artist: Black Lips
  • CD: 200 Million Thousand
  • Genre: Rock
Black Lips 300

Buoyed by its killer hook, Black Lips' "Starting Over" is a ramshackle gem that's more than the sum of its parts. courtesy of the artist hide caption

itoggle caption courtesy of the artist

Members of the Atlanta-based band Black Lips describe their music as "flower punk," which sounds suspiciously like a term made up for the purposes of a press release. But in this case, it's actually pretty apt: The group combines the messier impulses of punk, psychedelia, '60s rock and '90s Britpop, complete with a carefully cultivated reputation for unruliness which includes (but has not been limited to) urinating on each other, vomiting onstage and setting their instruments on fire. So it's pretty much an acquired taste.

On the new 200 Million Thousand, Black Lips' members appear to take themselves a bit more seriously, while still maintaining their reputation as lovable pranksters obsessed with bodily fluids. "Starting Over" may be the best evidence that, against all logic, the new approach is working. Mixing Byrds-ian jangle-pop with shouty garage punk, it's an unlikely but strangely successful combination.

"Starting Over" sounds as if it were made by cavemen — or perhaps a group of slow-witted 7-year-olds with access to their parents' Vandals albums — but it possesses a weirdly hypnotic allure. It doesn't consist of much more than 10 lines, mostly yelled unintelligibly in a fake British accent. But, buoyed by its killer hook and Black Lips' obvious enthusiasm, it's a ramshackle gem that's more than the sum of its parts.

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