steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

The Black Lips

"We Did Not Know The Forest Spirit Made The Flowers Grow" CD

Bomp! Records

Genres: garage rock, garage punk

PO Box 7112
Burbank CA 91510

Sep 26 - Oct 3 2004

The garage rock revival scene peaked awhile ago, but few bands reached the pure, energy-riddled pinnacle The Black Lips achieve with We Did Not Know.  The band knows how to please, and their simple melodic charm is not overshadowed by the album's lo-fi recording techniques and noisy style.  Right off the bat, you can feel the pure, panicked explosiveness of this quartet - and you'd have to be made of stone not to lap it up.

The Black Keys take their cue from late-60s/70s garage rock, but infuse their noise with a distinct modern charm.  "M.I.A." and "Super X-13" make for gritty, depraved fun like nothing else - the tunes sound like White Stripes demos imbibed with a youthful, basement-band energy.  "Stranger" and "Notown Blues," meanwhile, could have comprised both sides of an obscure psych 45 from 1969, and the plodding "Ghetto Cross" is incredibly infectious, sure to catch even the most disillusioned listeners off guard.

We Did Not Know The Forest Spirit Made The Flowers Grow could be one of the most successful garage rock releases to come out in a long while, not due to studio polish and major-label promotion, but because of a true devotion to the genre.  The Black Lips actually sound like they record their music through a broken boombox in someone's garage, and you'd have to be pretty naive not to realize that's the whole point.


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 10 tracks + 1 hidden + video, distributed by the label, released 2004]