Self-described “flower punks” Black Lips have survived the past decade by being “just a bit smarter and a bit weirder” than their garage-rock peers, said Matt Fink in Paste. But their music has always been overshadowed by their outrageous onstage antics: It can be difficult to focus on the songs when the guitars are being played with genitalia. Thankfully, the Atlanta-based quartet’s fifth record—a sloppy but clever mélange of “surf riffs, girl-group hooks, and lo-fi psych”—finds them finally putting the horse in front of the cart. “This is the work of a band deftly straddling wasted youth and serious craft,” said Joan Anderman in The Boston Globe. Tracks like “Drugs” and “Trapped in the Basement” sound as if they’d been mixed “in some kid’s filthy garage.” But there’s also evidence that these naughty lads have “grown up into top-shelf songwriters.” 200 Million Thousand might not be the best record of the year, but it guarantees that the Black Lips aren’t bound for garage-rock obscurity.
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