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The Black Lips | Sing In A World That’s Falling Apart

Atlanta's garage subversives bash out a country album for our post-truth existence.

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THE PRESS RELEASE

“Atlanta underground rock provocateurs Black Lips have announced their new LP The Black Lips Sing In A World That’s Falling Apart. Boasting an unapologetic southern-fried twang, the 12-track collection marks the quintet’s most pronounced dalliance with country music yet, with a clang and harmony that is unmistakably the inimitable sound and feel of the Black Lips. While the songcraft and playing is more sophisticated, Black Lips were determined to return to the raw sound roots that marked their early efforts. Recorded and co-produced with Nic Jodoin at Laurel Canyon’s legendary, newly reopened Valentine Recording Studios (which played host to Beach Boys and Bing Crosby before shuttering in 1979) without Pro-Tools and other contemporary technology, the band banged the album out directly to tape quickly and cheaply, resulting in their grimiest, most dangerous, and best collection of songs since the aughts.”

MY TWO CENTS

“The secret of success is sincerity — once you can fake that you’ve got it made.” Apparently some French dramatist, intellectual and all-around snoot named Jean Girardoux came up with that one. Unless, of course, it was cigar-chomping vaudeville shtickster George Burns. Strangely enough, both of them get credit for it online. Even weirder: For a witticism that straddles the fence between existential truth and snappy one-liner, that kinda makes sense. Much in the same way The Black LipsSing In A World That’s Falling Apart makes an insubordinate, vaguely snide kind of sense. This subversive Atlanta garage-punks’ ninth full-length is, for all intents and purposes, a shitkicker country album. No, seriously. Well, kinda. It’s got all the basic ingredients: Twangy chicken-pickin’ licks and shimmering steel guitars, boom-chikka drum beats and walking basslines, drawled vocals and moaning harmonica lines, and a heapin’ helpin’ of twisted, two-fisted tales about hookers and johns, moonshiners and prison rodeos, living fast and dying slow. Of course, you won’t be seeing or hearing the Lips’ rangy, rambunctious brand of country on the Grand Ole Opry stage anytime soon. These dark, druggy, frequently demented stories are told through deeply jaundiced eyes, voiced with a pronounced lack of fucks (accented with the occasional belch), and casually delivered with the ramshackle, laissez-faire nonchalance that has always defined the work of these agent provocateurs. Bottom line: If you’re looking for an album that makes David Allen Coe look like Donny and Marie, seek no further. But back to the $64 question: Is it real or a shuck? Respectful homage or sneering parody? Only Black Lips know — and they’re sealed on the deal. Here’s the thing, though: It doesn’t matter in the slightest. The only thing that counts is that they’ve pulled it off brilliantly, bashing out an album that not only puts a bug in your ear and a smirk on your mug, but also defiantly and deliberately blurs the line between sincerity and hypocrisy. And in our post-fact, post-truth world — the one that even they acknowledge is falling apart; the one where city-slicker assholes pretend to be down-home, God-fearin’ good ole boys to con the rubes into voting against their best interests and surrendering their power and pay — what could make more sense? Or be more fitting? If they can keep this up, the Lips have got it made.