Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
"Baby 81"

(RCA Records 2007)Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Baby 81

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club returns to form with "Baby 81" after sneaking under the radar with their last album, "Howl." While "Howl" saw the band change things up and take some chances it had them abandoning their full, dynamic rock 'n' roll sound in favor of a more thoughtful and precise sounding alternative. "Baby 81" takes a step back towards the band's self-titled major label debut.

With heavy riffs pushing and pulling, its pure BRMC with the reverberated riffs and repeated lyrics on "Took Out A Loan" and "Berlin," which sees vocalist and guitar player Peter Hayes declaring a la "Whatever Happened to My Rock 'n' Roll" that "Suicide's easy./What happened to the revolution?" The piano pounding "Windows," with its sleepy Oasis style vocal delivery, and "666 Conducer" offer a slow, spaced out feel. Elsewhere on the album, BRMC get political. "I won't waste my love on a nation," the quick moving "Weapon of Choice" declares before taking a break for vocal harmonization. Instrumentation becomes the focus on "American X" as the band put a dramatic edge and slow burn out at the end of the song.

Regardless of the reasons that BRMC chose to change up their sound again, betraying the "Howl" version of themselves, "Baby 81" has its highpoints. Memorable tracks with heavy riffs pounding linger with the psychedelically kissed layered instrumentation, lightly buzzing. Not too heavy, not too poppy, and not too retro, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club's "Baby 81" falls somewhere safely in the middle.

B+

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