- Genre: 'Rock'
- Release Date: '12th January 2018'
That Black Rebel Motorcycle Club have, following their initial explosion onto the music scene in a hail of coverage and acclaim with their debut album back in 2001, endured says something about them. ‘The Effects of 333’ notwithstanding, they may not have strayed a million miles from the template set on said debut over the course of their career, but if it ain’t broke… What BRMC have always been is a cracking rock ‘n’ roll band, with enough vim and noise to mean they’re not ‘safe’ or overtly commercial, but with enough melody and strong enough tunes to be broadly accessible. ‘Wrong Creatures’ encapsulates the band perfectly, despite favouring ‘big’ songs over uptempo drivers.
‘DFF’ makes for an atmospheric introduction, the tribal drums banging out a march against an eerie choral ceremony partly obscured by a murky sonic gauze. And then it’s down to the business they do best: thumping rock ‘n’ roll tunes with snake-hipped grooves. ‘Spook’ and lead single cut ‘Little Thing Gone Wild’ are perfectly representative.
As the album progresses, there’s a sense of familiarity in the elements: the reverby vocals, drawled with a knowing nonchalance, the rich tube-crunched guitar sound that’s got vintage all over it, the square four-four drum and stocky bass define the sound, and the uncluttered, straightforward song structures – the arrival of the chorus never comes as a surprise – are all integral to the appeal.
When they slow it down and strip it back, as on the acoustic-led country-tinged ‘Haunt’, they come on like a brooding, melancholic Chris Isaac, or ‘Stoned and Dethroned’ era J&MC (‘Echo’) laced with wispy shoegaze details. And they do spring a few surprises: the psychedelic ‘Circus Bazookoo’ ventures into trippy Doorsy territory, and it’s a trilling organ weaving through ‘Carried from the Start’ which yields to a deluge of overdrive.
Whenever the album looks to be on the brink of suffering a mid-album slow-down, largely on account of 5 successive tracks stretching well beyond the 5-minute mark, they pull out some big, gutsy guitars and work a slow-burner into something engagingly anthemic. It’s all in the execution, the delivery, and with ‘Wrong Creatures’, BRMC remind us they’re masters of both.