Black Lips - We Did Not Know The Forest Spirit Made The Flowers Grow (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Black Lips

We Did Not Know The Forest Spirit Made The Flowers Grow (2004)



Black Lips give us ten tracks of early punk/60s psychedelic/freakout noise rock genius. While some comparisons might be made to label mates Coffin Lids' due to the "recorded through a tin-can" production, that's all the further that they share similarities. Instead, Black Lips sounds more like The Velvet Underground or The Yardibirds, if each band had pursued a more punk sound.

In their sophomore release, "We Did Not Know The Forest Spirit Made The Flowers Grow," Black Lips burns through ten tracks of spacey, twangy guitars, steady and hard drumming, snotty/shrieking vocals, and rhythmic, yet simplistic bass lines. While most songs are under three minutes, the last track is a nine minute noise freak out session featuring a walking bassline and claps and snaps for percussion while the rest of the band throws every single kind of noise that they can imagine at you.

Choice tracks include "Nothing At All/100 New Fears" in which a noisy three-chord rocker with tortured shrieks turns into a harpsichord/vocal duet in which the singer abandons the regular high pitches he is used to for a deep baritone. Overall, the song reminds me of medieval organ church music. It's some crazy shit.

Another killer song is "Stranger," where the verse could be a B-side of of VU's "White Light/White Heat" while the chorus reminds of a mid-tempo noisier Minor Threat.

Most of the time, the instruments and vocals are out of tune and so distorted that even if they were in tune, you're not sure what chords or harmonies are being played. Overall, this album presents rock n' roll in a new way by going back to old influences. A solid release that probably has a top 5 spot in my top ten of 2004

Video for "Fad" (not on this release)