Bad Boys Gone Wild
They’re rebels, and they’ll never ever be any good. At least that’s what Virgin said while dropping Black Rebel Motorcycle Club after their second album, Take Them On, On Your Own. BRMCâ€šÃ„Ã´s third addition, Howl, is a shift in a new direction. Taking their name from the Marlon Brando film “The Wild One,” BRMC seems to have left their Harleys at the wayside to get in touch with their inner emotional side.Replaced by vocal harmonies and songs relishing religion, you’ll be hard pressed to find the noise rock BRMC is better known for. Simplistic and bluesy vocal harmonies trigger the opening track, “Shuffle Your Feet,” until the head boppin’ groove starts. What follows is a taste of everything: a heavy drone with “Howl,” acoustic beauty with “Devil’s Waitin’,” and a rockin’ hoedown in “Ain’t No Easy Way.”
With each endeavor, BRMC selects audacious influences but never strays from the indie feel. “Gospel Song” begins with the lyrics “I will walk with Jesus” backed by acoustic guitar, then breaks into a heavier beat complete with dissonance so not to be confused with Jars of Clay. A harmonica solo matched with acoustic guitar gives the country touch, but is positively hindered by a rock twang in the vocals. The broken chords of “Restless Sinner” prop the timid vocals, while the brazen piano intro to “Promise” lays the perfect cover to the longing lyrics of “a promise not forgotten.”
When bad boys can’t get any bad-er , they turn good, and in the case of Howl, BRMC has become dynamite. With each track tighter than the last, in no time you’ll be confessing your love for country-rock or Americana.