Black Lips - Drugs

Richard Wink 20/08/2009

Rating: 4/5

Should we actually call this a split single? On one side you have Black Lips with 'Drugs' and on the other, Lumina aka Faris Badwan covering 'I'll Be With You'. Black Lips have always divided opinion, garage revivalists who arrived in the first wave of noughties garage bands alongside the likes of The White Stripes and The Hives. I'm at a loss how Black Lips never went stellar because 'Veni Vidi Vici' is quite possibly the coolest song released in the last decade.

'Drugs' doesn't quite reach the optimum high, but it's a ditzy surf-pop romp that is scraggy and uttererly meaningless. The single proves that cliché is good if you're not being serious, and one thing the Black Lips can never be accused of is being serious. I'm glad in some ways that Black Lips are a band that will never grow up.

Lumina's cover of 'I'll Be With You' takes the track down a dark alley and prods it with a crow's beak. Atmospheric and not too distant from the headspace that Badwan was in during the recording of Primary Colours, a bleak organ ghosted by thick fog takes us on a journey of morose contemplation.

Both songs couldn't be further apart, one is sunny, drinking a mixed fruit cocktail on a beach, the other is a junkie with a syringe hanging from his wrist, slumped in a bleak, poorly lit gutter.

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