on March 9, 2010
Upon first listen of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club's latest album, "Beat the Devil's Tattoo," the first reaction might very well be that the range of sound is familiar, very much in the same vein as what the band has put out in years past. The band has its niche, and while they continue to grow and change, overall they've decided to maintain an integrity and consistency with what they want B.R.M.C. to sound like. This observation isn't a criticism -- it's refreshing to see a good band you can count on to not try to reinvent themselves every time it becomes fashionable to do so. Fans who love past albums will love this. Those looking for some good new music will find a unique and exciting listen in "Devil's Tattoo."
When people talk or write about the band, the influence of blues music always seems to get undercut, or perhaps just ignored. The spirit of "Howl" displayed this blues influence more than the other albums perhaps, but B.R.M.C.'s electric, hard-driven rock has always sounded very blues-based. On this album that influence is evident from the title track, to "Conscience Killer," to "River Styx." Don't misunderstand -- this is not a blues record. But the influence of blues into what this band does makes for some driving, head-noddin', foot-tappin' rock music that just makes you feel good. It's an album that arguably gets better on the second and third listen.
It's hard to not sound too over-the-top in praising the band. In a music era where so much of what is put out for consumption is industrial, unoriginal, and just pretty bland, this band has been a breath of fresh air for this reviewer (pardon the cliche). But it's true. There isn't really another band that sounds like them putting out music as consistently as they are. Yes, in many ways "Devil" sounds very much like their past records, but it's hard to see why that's a bad thing. Maybe this isn't new territory for the band, but these songs are new, and that's reason enough to go out and pick this up. I'm on my third listen for the day, and it sounds better each time. Can't wait to see them live.
on March 9, 2010
Hayes and Been have come a long way from their high school days in San Francisco, and seem to finally be getting some broader attention in the wake of Howl and Baby 81. Beat the Devil's Tattoo represents Leah Shapiro's debut with the power trio. Formerly the touring drummer for the Raveonettes, Shapiro is stellar here. She reminds me of Janet Weiss of Sleater-Kinney, only better suited to Hayes/Been. For those of you who loved Baby 81 you will love this CD. For those who preferred the direction B.R.M.C. was heading with Howl will be once again disappointed. One of these days it would be nice of Mr. Been decided it would be artistically acceptable to include his cover of Dylan's "Visions of Johanna" which he performed recently at a concert in Vancouver on a future reissue of this release. Courtney Jaye adds a fine guest vocal to "The Toll" which for the time being will console me for the want of Mr. Been's brilliant cover version aforementioned. Outstanding tracks: "Bad Blood", "War Machine", "Evol" "Shadow Keeper" and the closing ten minute twenty second "Half-State". **** 1/2 stars
In 2009, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club closed the final chapter on drummer Nick Lago, who was kicked out of the band after the "Baby 81" 2007 album and tour. Last year's excellent 2DVD/CD "Live" release brought highlights from that tour, and even though heavy on "Baby 81" tracks, this serves as an unofficial look back on the first 10 years or so of the band. In 2008, new drummer Leah Shapiro joined BRMC, and now finally comes the revamped band's fifth studio album.
"Beat the Devil's Tattoo" (13 tracks; 65 min.) starts off with the title track, which just oozes "Howl" all over. After that, we return to the 'classic' heavy BRMC sound with the up-tempo "Conscience Killer", and a slow-burning "War Machine", one of the best tracks on here. "Sweet Feeling" is a nice acoustic breather. The 6 min. "Evol" is another highlight on the album. "Mama Taught Me Better" is a hard charging head-on rocker. There are a couple of songs in the middle of the album that seem unfocused or misdirected (such as "River Styx" and "The Toll"). Towards the end of the album, "Shadow's Keeper" is a nerve-shattering song that comes crashing down eventually, wow. But we're not done. The closer "Half-State" is a 10+ min. epic song that will blow up the roof.
In all, there are enough good songs on here to keep me coming back, but the album is overlong and would've been served well by some tighter editing, keeping some of the weaker tracks for B sides and similar releases. I've seen BRMC a number of times over the years, most recently in the summer of 2008 when new drummer Leah Shapiro had just joined the band. She will do just fine, as she also proves on this album. Can't wait to see how the band will bring these songs live.
on November 19, 2010
this is what i've been waiting for! looking for! music sucks so much these days that i'd given up and conceded that i would just remain hanging with my old school punk/no wave/blues sounds and nursing on the occasional teat of the rare/random gems found after much searching, as such i was resigned to my fate, and the fact that music, as i love it, was dead, to everything there is a season...but NO! on a whim did i check out the incredulous 'dead winter' from there i was brilliantly lead to 'the kills' and then the wonderous 'black rebel motorcycle club'...damn...it's like i've been sufficating and suddenly've gotten a huge relieving wiff of sweet mother oxygen...i will be buying EVERYthing by these guys, and the others as well....and now to get some 'black angels' for dessert. thank you oh sweet limitless music, you're not dead after all!
on June 16, 2013
Beat the devil's tattoo is the only good track on this CD, what happened? I know their NEW drummer is a smoking hot lady but that doesn't translate int the music being any better, the tracks were boring and redundant very repetitive and without any spark or IDK I just couldn't get into it as I could in their previous records.
on July 28, 2010
I have loved Black Rebel Motorcycle Club for about six or seven years now. I got into them after the release of TAKE THEM ON, ON YOUR OWN. A band from my native state, a distinct vocalist, moments of hard rock, but a band that could also survive slow songs without turning cheesy. After TAKE THEM ON, ON YOUR OWN, BRMC released HOWL, which, in my opinion, is an amazing album. A rootsy, southern rock, acoustic album that strays at times into deep soul and gospel music. Two genres I'm no real fan of, but when BRMC is the vessel, they managed to knock it out of the park.
Then came BABY 81. And I think the two real problems with BABY 81 were 1. That it followed such an amazing album as HOWL, and 2. That it was so different from HOWL. For myself, I was severely disappointed because what I really wanted after HOWL was HOWL VOLUME 2. BRMC took things in a different direction, and now that a few years have passed and I have gone back and given BABY 81 another chance, I actually like it quite a bit, even though I feel some songs are a bit lengthy when they don't need to be.
So now onto BEAT THE DEVIL'S TATTOO. This album maintains the same guitar power as BABY 81 had, but injects into it that southern roots feel that made me fall in love with HOWL. In fact, the whole album is so nearly a perfect hybrid between the previous and subsequent albums that I really feel like this should have separated the two. I think I would have liked this album more, and BABY 81 more as well. The album isn't new or original really, even as far as the previous work of BRMC, but it's a good listen, and a freshness lacking in the worship surrounding Miley Cyrus and Justin Beiber.
The lyrics are also maturing. One thing I have always loved about BRMC is how well the emotion is conveyed in the vocals. "I'd never known her to cry/But this time was different for sure/She's shakin' with tears in her eyes/As she picks up what's left of the night" The beginning of the song 'The Toll,' is a fantastic break-up song, filled with simple drum and guitar chords, backed by a female vocalist (a rarity in BRMC). This bare style is what endeared me to HOWL, that something with so little physical substance can have such a profound effect.
One last thing to mention is that BEAT THE DEVIL'S TATTOO seems longer than it actually is owing to how many slow songs there are on the album. The album barely reaches an hour in length, but because there are so few "rock" songs, it will feel longer. I'm not sure whether that's a good thing for others, but HOWL had mostly slow songs, and it is my favorite. In conclusion, you really can't go wrong with any BRMC album, and anyone who liked HOWL should definitely check this album out. Anyone who sort of stumbled into BRMC with BABY 81 and thought it was OK should still check this out. Sometimes BRMC zigs when you expect them to zag, but I, at least, will follow them wherever they go.
on August 27, 2011
With new drummer Leah Shapiro BRMC are back with a new studio album. The sound of the group is somewhere between "Baby 81" and "Howl"; less acoustic and basic blues inspired than "Howl"; but still with several numbers that might have fitted well into that album.
As other reviewers have stated the album may well feel a little too longwinded and some of the less interesting tracks probably could well have been omitted, or possibly edited. However, it is remarkable that people seem to disagree about which songs are the weak ones.
Personally, I think that the album has plenty of good songs and I won't hesitate to call solid and successful. There are though, no songs challenging my favorite with the group, "All You Do is Talk" from "Baby 81", though a couple of songs such as "Evol" and "Bad Blood" come close.
Among other favorites the melodic acoustic ballad "The Toll" should be mentioned - a very moving song with nice harmony vocals from Courtney Jane who sounds almost like Emmylou Harris. Acoustic and melodic is also "Sweet Feeling", a song that grows with each listening.
A few tracks sound very T. Tex inspired. This goes for to the heavy "Aya" - could almost have been an outtake from the "Electric Warrior". Bolan type boogie can be found on "River Styx". "Long Way Down", with piano accompaniment is also melodic and almost Beatles-esque in its sound. The title track could easily have stemmed from the "Howl Sessions". "Shadow's Keeper" has a Britpop sound, which might well have been inspired by Oasis.
The closing track "Half State" is probably too long, while the "Conscience Killer", "War Machine" and "Mama Taught Me Better" all belong to a category of numbers I could have done without.
on June 11, 2010
I loved Baby 81, have listened to Howl a couple of times, and haven't heard their earlier albums. This one is deeper, darker, and denser than Baby 81, more fuzzy, with more distortion. Which is all good. Who doesn't like distortion? I generally like it, even if the vocals are buried down in the mix and harder to hear. But it is very reminiscient of the J & MC. It's also more monotonous -- there is no "Killing the Light" or "666 Conducer" or "All You Do is Talk" on this CD. Baby 81 really grabs my attention and it's hard for me to do anything but listen to it when it's on -- Devil's Tattoo I can listen to at work because it's not as demanding on my attention.
on April 25, 2012
Compré esta edición de Beat The Devil's Tattoo y superó todas mis expectativas, viene en dos fundas personalizadas muy bonitas, el troquelado de las iniciales B.R.M.C. es un tremendo detalle y el vinyl lado A y B es verde lima, de verdad una de las mejores ediciones que poseo en vinyl, totalmente recomendable y claro a parte de todos los detalles del diseño del disco, el álbum es excelente!
on May 15, 2010
Let's get the main point out the way: this is a fantastic album. For a lot of BRMC fans, the question with each release is whether we would see a return to the bluesy acoustic sound we heard on Howl. This CD opens with a steady guitar strum that makes you think that this might be a return to Howl's sound..and then things get kicked up a notch, and you realize that this is going to be a fun ride.
For the uninitiated trying to decide where to start with BRMC, I would break their albums down as follows: BRMC (their self-titled first album) is solid Jesus & Mary chain - influenced rock. Take Them On..., (their 2nd CD) is darker and less catchy but still within the same soundscape. Howl is a break from form, with an all-acoustic sound. Baby 81 is poppier than their previous CDs, but a return to the full-band rock sound. Beat The Devil's Tattoo is closest to Take Them Own... stylistically. If Baby 81 was a bid for a more mainstream sound, this album sounds like a loud embrace of their indie roots. It's thick and gritty and not really that catchy, but it's still my favorite CD of 2010.
Other reviewers have hit on a lot of the highlights, but I'll add a few favorites of my own: Aya (a really dark and powerful jam) and the driving title track. I'll also join the chorus of praise for the closer Half-State, which proves that sometimes songs are good enough to deserve ten minutes. If you're hungry for good old fashioned rock without the sentimentality or emo vibe of most current bands, then this is the album for you.