Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Howl (CD)

“Shuffle Your Feet” is a blues-influenced track that seems more in common with a Stevie Ray Vaughn than with the current focus on the retro-rock of The White Stripes or . The slightly-slower sound of the title track is thus facilitated by the Corrosion of Conformity-esque opening to the disc, and will allow individuals to see the slightly Brit-rock sound of the second track. The heavy synth lines during “Howl” is what gives it the particularly “english” flavor, which evaporates whole-heartedly during the the looking-back sound of “Devil’s Waitin’”. In something that would sound fitting on a scratchy bit of country vinyl from a grandfather’s collection, the sing-songy feel of “Devil’s Waitin’” is something that is common during the entirety of “Howl”.

“Promise” seems to look over towards the modern lounge of acts like Rufus Wainwright for the vocals and over-the-top instrumentation (which itself may look back to individuals like Elton John), and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club creates a very grounded type of track that properly respects their elders while still having a slight tie to the current music scene. The disc is not a quick listen; whether it is actually due to the extended length of “Howl” or the rich instrumentation that the BRMC imbue each of their tracks with, one can only guess. “Weight Of The World” pulls out the slightly operatic and Oasis-like touch, while “Restless Sinner” looks back to the American south for a blues tempo and constructs. The disc’s tone is going to be challenging for listeners who might be expecting the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club to be the next Blur, but the music contained on “Howl” will titillate anyone who still remembers the days of early Elton John and The Beatles, or even farther back (the aforementioned heavy dollop of blues that the band places on this disc).

Perhaps the most interesting track on “Howl” has to be one stuck towards the end of the disc; “Complicated Situation”. While the rest of the tracks on the disc could be categorized into the Blues and British influences of the band, “Complicated Situation” is a track that has a different set of influences. Set at a hair over two minutes and thirty seconds, the track is much more Dylan than Beatles. Overall, “Howl” is a fun listen that will engulf ever facet of a listener’s psyche and return it only well after the disc has finished spinning.

Top Tracks: Sympathetic Noose, Howl

Rating: 5.9/10

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Howl / 2005 RCA / 13 Tracks / / / Reviewed 12 August 2005

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