Published Mar 17, 2014Whether it's pissing in each other's mouths or vomiting on stage, the Black Lips have always lacked focus, but that was part of the charm with the Atlanta quartet — you were never quite sure what you were going to get.
That's why it's so painful to admit that while Underneath the Rainbow — that band's sixth studio LP — may be their most mature work to date, it is also their most boring.
Coming off of 2011's critically acclaimed Arabia Mountain, it appears the good ol' boys may have been unhappy with producer Mark Ronson's overly polished (at least by their standards) sound, choosing to join forces with the Black Keys' Patrick Carney, Charles Bradley main man Thomas Brenneck and longtime collaborator Ed Rawls to dirty up the recordings. The result is a traditional southern roots rock record, yet one that ultimately falters due to its overall murkiness.
Cole Alexander standout "Funny," while containing one of the most powerful vocal performances of his career, suffers from an overwhelming lack of definition, while tracks like "Dandelion Dust" and "Drive-By Buddy" lack the immediacy of their earlier work.
If there's a silver lining to Underneath the Rainbow, it's the vocal performances of drummer Joe Bradley, whose undeniable Southern twang breaks through the monotony on album highlight "Justice After All" and "Dorner Party." Still, while the band's earlier material sounded lo-fi out of necessity, Underneath the Rainbow disappoints due to its inauthentic attempt at sounding like an album recorded long before its time. (Vice)