Album Review: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Beat The Devil’s Tattoo

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club and I go back quite a long way. I’ve been a fangirl since the early days, swooning initially over their deliciously droning nouveau gaze and then embracing each subsequent incarnation with open arms (I’m particularly fond of the Howl era, as well). As far as I’m concerned, BRMC has been one of the most consistently great bands of the past decade, and with newest release Beat The Devil’s Tattoo they prove they’ve still got it. I’ll admit, I’m probably predisposed to love any record they release, but I’m pretty sure you’ll find that this album is worth all the gushing I’m about to do.

Beat The Devil’s Tattoo makes me a one heck of a happy gal, because it’s a return to both the sensational southern-fried, gospel-tinged honey blues that were so prevalent on the glorious Howl record, and the black-clad distortion and drone of their debut. Peter, Robert, and new girl Leah are spot on from the word go, with title track “Beat The Devil’s Tattoo” proving to be the first of many hallelujahs. The guitar work would do the Delta proud, the vocals are magnificently muddled, and the drums are pounded mercilessly. The surging guitar intro of “Bad Blood” makes my day, and Peter’s signature vocals make me swoon. The song picks up a bit on the sound of “Not What You Wanted”, from the excellent Baby 81, but seems even more intoxicating to me somehow. It’s a little more rough around the edges, perhaps.

Ferocious fuzz leads the way into the sexy instrumentation of “War Machine”. It’s got the feel of their first record, with the wash of noise thickened by muddy distortion. “I’m waiting for you to say/the words to make me stay,” foxily go the boys in the song “Evol”, with a hypnotic backdrop of wailing guitars and the anchor of steady, solid drums. It’s definitely one of my favorite songs on the album. “Sure feels like love again,” the boys croon, and I’d have to concur. Some of you might recognize “River Styx”, a product of the Howl sessions that happily made it onto this record. It’s gone through quite a change, sounding much less stripped down but no less seductively sinister. “Long Way Down” is gorgeous, with piano adding delicacy to the sweeping sound, tinged as so many BRMC songs are with wonderfully woeful melancholy.

The whole record absolutely crackles with electricity, and it’s charged with this energy that not many bands can match. Even though I expected to adore Beat The Devil’s Tattoo, I was a little taken aback at just how much I ended up loving it. If you’ve not yet fallen in love with BRMC, this album might just do the trick. They’ve got their mojo workin’, and it sure is workin’ on me.

mp3: Beat The Devil’s Tattoo (Black Rebel Motorcycle Club from Beat The Devil’s Tattoo)


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