Black Rebel Motorcycle Club: Beat the Devil's Tatoo (Abstract Dragon)

 |   |  1 min read

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club: Mama Taught Me Better
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club: Beat the Devil's Tatoo (Abstract Dragon)

When I saw the BRMC in their early days at the Troubadour in LA I came away convinced they were, if not the future of rock'n'roll, then they would have at least a lot of interesting noises to make until the future arrived.

They roared and rocked, swapped instruments, played psychedelicised rock'n'roll with references to a few other marginal styles and . . .

I fell for them.

Ours has been a rocky relationship since then however and I never felt they captured on album the magic of that night where they played to no more than maybe 100 people who air-punched and surged forward.

I quite liked parts of '05's Howl and while there are powerful and raunchy psychedelic rock manoeuvres here on their fifth album (the Exile on Main Street turned up to 11 swagger of Conscience Killer, the slewing Oasis-like Anglo-drone of Bad Blood which follows) much of this treads such a familiar path (Jesus and Mary Chain through grunge) that it ultimately fails to really connect.

You can't argue with the noisecore attack of War Machine (it would be pointless, no one could hear you) or the broad sonic landscape of Evol.

But the acoustic Sweet Feeling and The Toll add noting to what they have done previously and the prevailing mood of gloom (the title comes from an Edgar Allen Poe story) becomes a little relentless -- although the favourable reference point of Sonic Youth doing Black Sabbath doesn't seem amiss on Mama Taught Me Better.

Overlong at 13 tracks -- but the final Americana piano ballad Long Way Down and the 10 minute Half State are worth cutting straight to around the halfway mark. 

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2009 Various: Stroke; Songs for Chris Knox (Rhythmethod)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2009 Various: Stroke; Songs for Chris Knox (Rhythmethod)

There's an unstated but obviously very sensible practice that most critics adopt: you never review a show or album which is raising money for a good cause. If the show is lousy and you say as much... > Read more

Various Artists: The Birth of Surf Guitar Vol 3 (Ace/Border)

Various Artists: The Birth of Surf Guitar Vol 3 (Ace/Border)

It seems odd that surf guitar rock should be so enduring. For some it was just a brief phenomenon of the late Fifties/early Sixties but here at Elsewhere we've recently written about surf... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

GUEST WRITER GREG PARSLOE looks at when Grand Prix drivers would crash and burn

GUEST WRITER GREG PARSLOE looks at when Grand Prix drivers would crash and burn

In those years between 1961 and '73 – when Grand Prix drivers “wore lucky charms instead of seat belts” – those behind the wheel seemed expendable. A conveyor belt of new... > Read more

LINK WRAY REISSUED (2016): Ragged but right country

LINK WRAY REISSUED (2016): Ragged but right country

Mention the name “Link Wray” these days and most people will draw a blank. A few might confidently say, “Rumble” – the gang-fight title of his raw, distorted guitar... > Read more