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Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Beat the Devil's Tattoo

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Rating: 4/5
Verdict: You'd better join the club.

There was a time when Black Rebel Motorcycle Club were a hazy and psychedelic rock band, then they became porch song bluesmen on Howl before ramping it up again on Baby 81. And it seems founding members Robert Levon Been (bass) and Pete Hayes (guitar) lost their focus, which is why they are calling their fifth album a "starting over" for the band.

And it's a good thing because Beat the Devil's Tattoo is a coming together of the best fuzzy and trippy rock elements of their early albums and the stomping porch blues they do mighty well for a couple of boys from San Fran.

The opener and title track is a BRMC blues taster, but with Conscience Killer it fires up, as new drummer Leah Shapiro (Raveonettes) bashes away as if things are about to fall apart, and the seething mood intensifies on Bad Blood in a heavy and woozy My Bloody Valentine kind of way.

They sound like a more beastly rock'n'roll blues band. They put the hammer down on Conscience Killer, but pull back to a simmer, and slug away on the distortion-driven War Machine; then they go acoustic and drumless on the dulcet and lovely Sweet Feeling; and 10-minute long finale Half-State is BRMC's Champagne Supernova, only far noisier.

There is also a barrage of detuned and warped chords throughout the album that lend the band a new-found air of desperation and thirst - as if they're pissed off, but in a good way.

- NZ Herald

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