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BRMC is Back, Baby

By Tankboy in Arts & Entertainment on May 10, 2007 6:23PM

2007_05_brmc.gifWe were not fans of Howl, the last release from Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (BRMC). The band traded in it's Jesus And Mary Chain-saw guitars for Exile On Main Street Stonesy "rootsiness" and the transformation didn't quite take. BRMC have been revivalists from the get-go, but the new earnestness of Howl did not flatter them the same way their reinterpretations of bratty, shoegazing, walls of sound did in the past.

Luckily the band is solidly back on track with Baby 81 (released last week), and are sounding better than ever. We suppose we actually should thank the band for it's misstep, since Howl seems to have provided the band the courage to add a healthy dose of bluesy groove to increase the ratio of swagger to sneer to a pleasing maximum. Album opener "Took Out A Loan" reiterates their mission statement to assure the listener that the band is on track, and follow-up "Berlin" provides the band with it's kickiest rhythm since "Whatever Happened to My Rock 'N' Roll (Punk Song)" to deliver a heavy slice of biker bar disco. The single "Weapon Of Choice" illustrates the upside of Howl's effect on the group splendidly as it's back country opening makes way for a thundering beat custom built for an off road journey through dangerous terrain.

Ultimately Baby 81 displays a band that is finally comfortable in its own skin. BRMC is unafraid to branch out and expand their sound, but now they display the restraint of self-assurance to insure their songs play up to the group's strengths.

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club plays The Vic May 24.

Photo by Tessa Angus