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Black Lips- Arabia Mountain (Album Review)

On their sixth studio album, Black Lips have distilled the very essence of what they do best and topped it off with an enhanced production value—mostly courtesy Mark Ronson—that thankfully avoids robbing the music of its electric, raw quality. Awash in trippy reverb and surf-rock riffs, Arabia Mountain is further proof that the Lips have matured. The songs are no less fun than the slapdash punk gems they cranked out early in their career, but the lyrics find themselves digging a bit deeper into the nature of the human condition, while the instrumentation becomes more complex and varied. “Spidey’s Curse” is candied surf punk, a natural heir to the Ramones’ sound, while “Go Out and Get It” captures the best of garage rock and mixes it with a haughty pop sensibility. Some new avenues are also explored in songs like “Dumpster Dive” (a rocking track with a slight honky-tonk feel) and “Mad Dog” (a mod stunner with jazzy horn solos and masterfully layered vocals). In the end, though, most of the songs still clock in under three minutes and it’s an innately accessible, jovial climb.