The Black Lips, Good Bad Not Evil

Alex Abramovich

By Alex Abramovich

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Good Bad Not Evil

The Black Lips
Garage rock that’s sweet enough to comfort, yet raw enough to disturb.

Clocking in at a lean thirty-six minutes, Good Bad, Not Evil represents a slight departure from the snarl and snaggle listeners have come to expect from Atlanta's enfant terribles, the Black Lips. Appropriately enough for an album released on September 11th (2007), the lyrics are death-soaked and darkly manic — the Violent Femmes 'countrified Hallowed Ground comes quickly to mind — zooming in to describe small-scale tragedies ("How Do You Tell A Child That Someone Has Died," "Transcendental Light"), and out again to encompass national disasters ("Katrina") and the so-called "clash of civilizations" ("Veni, Vidi, Vici"). And yet these songs are as catchy as they are disquieting, and at their lightest (the hymn to juvenile delinquency, "Bad Kids"), they're downright irresistible. Unlike other, older garage bands, the Black Lips have remained fresh and forward-looking; they're sweet enough to comfort, raw enough to disturb, smart enough to sustain repeated listens and simple enough to fall in love with the first time. Good Bad, Not Evil is the Black Lips 'best album yet, and one of the most delightful albums, by any band, to have come along in ages.