BLACK LIPS: LOS VALIENTES DEL MUNDO NUEVO (2007)
1) M.I.A.; 2) Boomerang; 3) Sea Of Blasphemy; 4) Stranger; 5) Not A Problem; 6) Hippie, Hippie, Hoorah; 7) Boone; 8) Everybody's Doing It; 9) Fairy Stories; 10) Dirty Hands; 11) Buried Alive; 12) Juvenile.
A new contract with Vice Records was celebrated by this supposedly live release – «supposedly», because there has been some debate about whether these tracks have really been recorded in a seedy bar in Tijuana, Mexico, or have simply been made to sound like they have really been recorded in a seedy bar in Tijuana, Mexico. Whatever be the eventual outcome of that debate, it is hardly significant. Nobody denies the fact that the Black Lips were basically born to play seedy bars, particularly in Tijuana, Mexico, and it would be fairly hard to deny that there is plenty of genuine-sounding seedy bar atmosphere on this record, replete with an off-his-head Spanish stage announcer, rounds of applause steadily flowing into drunken brawl, and sound quality that would be considered awful for anyone else, but is almost pristine, really, by the Lips' usual standards.
This might actually be the major point: if you ever wanted to hear 'M.I.A.', 'Stranger', and 'Juvenile' in a sonic quality acceptable for the average ear, this is your best chance. They turn out to be fun little pop-punk creations that I, for one, could not appreciate one single bit in the original setting, but here, the cleaner sound helps bring out all of their non-aggressive aggression. 'M.I.A.', in particular, works very well as the set opener, and 'Juvenile' is an excellent set closer. (Yes, it takes a band as rash as the Black Lips to have their live songs sound cleaner than their studio ones — provided this is really a live recording — but I am not sure if this is really a virtue of gigantic proportions in a world where «lo-fi» has managed to transform from an industrial side effect to a respectable artistic technique).
Most of the rest of the setlist, however, comes from the already much better recorded Let It Bloom, and I couldn't say that the amount of energy and pure debauchery on these versions surpasses the original. Even if all of these songs were indeed to be played in the nude, interrupted by spontaneous bursts of vomit, urination, unprotected sex with each other, coprophagia, animal sacrifices, genuine Satan worship, random rape of audience members, and other innocent bits of Sunday amusement, I am afraid that this does not translate in an understandable manner onto the record — you'd have to look for an accompanying video release. (Popular mythology may claim that there are only four copies in existence, and all are kept away from the public eye under the four pillows of the Washington Wives).
That said, the Black Lips are a «naughty party band» almost by definition, and Los Valientes does an honest job in adding the «naughty party» bits that one cannot find on regular studio albums. Even if the applause, the cheerings, the drunken brawl have all been dubbed over a studio re-recording, it still places the Lips in a very proper context for them. Note also that there is a hidden track here at the end of the album — a sort of atmospheric acid-folk ditty laced with alternating falsettos, «spooky» voices, and birds chirping, that is quite different from everything this band did before, and, to some extent, points the way to their «mature» future.
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