I’m curious — with all the Velvet Underground and Television comparrisons flying around Black Lipstick, would they have eclipsed the Strokes if they were signed to some major label?
Maybe Black Lipstick ought to tour the UK and engage in a Backstreet Boys-vs.-‘NSync type of battle with the current critics darlings from New Yawk City.
Sure, the Strokes have some pretty good, hook-filled songs — makes up for their total lack of stage presence, by the way — but Black Lipstick has two members from the defunct-but-always-great Kiss Offs.
At their best, the Kiss Offs came across as a raunchier, less brainy Waitresses — Katey Jones building up an indelible sexual tension with frontman Philip Niemeyer.
Black Lipstick strips away the Kiss Offs’ fuzzy pedal effects and Jones’ Casio keyboard artistry, leaving a more human, more obviously dischordant sound.
With a piano supplementing the cool strumming of Niemeyer and fellow singer/guitarist Travis Higdon, Black Lipstick comes across as more textured than the two guitarists’ previous band.
Niemeyer’s familiar, off-key, deadpan vocals infuse Black Lipstick’s music with a comforting swagger. “I don’t care about shit except for getting on and getting lit,” he sings on “White Jazz”. Amen.
As for all the Velvet Underground/Television/Talking Heads/Modern Lovers comparrisons — yeah, they’re true.
But unlike the Strokes or even another VU-like band from Japan called Mean Machine, Black Lipstick doesn’t sound like they need a banana peel on the cover of its EP.
Whatever hero worship Black Lipstick engages in, it’s mixed up well enough not to be too blatant.