Album Review

Black Lips, 'Arabia Mountain'

June 6, 2011

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The Atlanta-based garage-rock band connects with producer Mark Ronson for most of these raucous yet tuneful tracks. What initially sounds like an odd pairing ends up taking the Lips — with their nervous energy and jagged guitar sound — to new heights. Ronson helps them refine their songwriting while adding surprising hooks and production flourishes. “Raw Meat’’ is a burst of Ramones-ish pop ingeniously using the saw, which, along with hand claps and peppy “ah-oh’’s, underlines the guitars on the irresistible “Bone Marrow.’’ Almost all of the tracks retain the Lips’ rumble, but there’s more space within the grooves. Ronson nearly turns the group into pop stars, as the ’60s throwback “Time,’’ “Dumpster Dive,’’ and the modern bop of “New Direction’’ all would be radio-ready — if only radio were ready for them. “Noc-A-Homa,’’ an ode to the Atlanta Braves’ former mascot, and “Don’t Mess Up My Baby’’ are examples of loopy humor mixing with choice riffs. Only the closing “You Keep on Running’’ delves into the band’s past, more psychedelic tendencies. The disc is a blueprint of how to polish without compromise. (Out tomorrow) KEN CAPOBIANCO