brmccover

Imagine if a harmonica-toting Dean Moriarty had a fetish for David Lynch and dug dirty-blues fuzz rock and you’ve got the sixth album by California trio Black Rebel Motorcycle Club in a nutshell. Beat the Devil’s Tattoo was recorded in middle of a harsh Philadelphia winter in a basement. A book of Poe is lying around, thanks to new drummer Leah Shapiro. Good-looking people are horny. The passage of time becomes moot. Who can tell when you’re underground and the crumbling difference between day and night is another impatient fire in your belly. Insomnia sets in.

Always “O send out the raven ahead of the dove” type storytellers, BRMC has carved out a critically acclaimed career by painting visceral and dissonant tales of restless sinners who yearn for peace of mind amidst political unrest and moral unease. Wyatt Earp and Cormac McCarthy would find plenty to subsist on with Beat, as a reinvigorated BRMC takes the scenic route home through the wetlands and deserts of America during an Indian Summer, and onward to the snowed-in and dying one-horse railroad towns that dot the country from sea to shining sea. Blistering psycho-fuzz instant classics “Conscience Killer” and “Mama Taught Me Better” give way to the raw sexuality of “River Styx” (and a never better Robert Been) with its swampy, serpentine groove, and “Aya” with its implicit carnality care of unassuming loose canon Peter Hayes, all the while undulating and teasing like a tantric master before a big cathartic release. Acoustic ballad “The Toll” transcends the moment to become one of the finest things this band has produced.

Beat is a fiery Black Rebel Motorcycle Club playing to its strengths, feeling more like a debut album than U2′s latest (increasingly labored) grasp at relevance. And while the journey is nowhere that BRMC hasn’t learned to go in time, if you’re looking for heat, you can’t go wrong with this superbly passionate, rumbling exercise in sublime rock ‘n’ roll. (Abstract Dragon/Vagrant) –Carrie Alison

 
  1. It’s funny, I never thought about motorcycles this way, I’m thinking about getting one of the new Ducati electric bikes, what do you think?

    [Reply]

  2. [...] On the day in late winter that I catch up with Robert Levon Been of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club there are connection problems. He’s in a place, likely somewhere in California near the band’s home base, with bad reception. Somehow this seems like the perfect backdrop for which to frame our discussion of the band’s wildly diverse exercise in the inherent passion pit of rock ‘n’ roll, Beat the Devil’s Tattoo. [...]

  3. [...] an exclusive seven-song iTunes session today, including tracks from March’s excellent Beat the Devil’s Tattoo and other career highlights that was recorded back in June. The trio has just returned from an [...]

  4. [...] vital work in years. “Wyatt Earp and Cormac McCarthy would find plenty to subsist on with Beat, as a reinvigorated BRMC takes the scenic route home through the wetlands and deserts of America [...]