Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
"Howl"

(RCA Records 2005)Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Howl

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club has made "Howl" inconspicuous to the average rock fan. With no commanding guitar rock songs that would quickly have music fans declaring them the saviors of rock 'n' roll, "Howl" is a modern twist on blues inspired country rock and even some gospel. But where the fellow rock "saviors" the White Stripes' brand of music is power driven and dominated by shrieking vocals and hot guitar licks, BRMC stay under the radar with carefully crafted songs, which are as smooth and unconventionally melodic as they are thoughtfully constructed.

Hands clap and feet stomp for "Shuffle Your Feet" as BRMC batter out some ol' fashioned rock crying "time won't save our souls." With an energetic twang, guitars slide and drums pound for a relatively heavier sound on "Ain't No Easy." Guitar leads on "Gospel Song" as it slowly builds to a gentle sway and the measured organ, buzzing guitar riffs and clinking tambourine come together for an airy result on the album's reserved title track. Piano echoes on the clean cut melody of "Promise" as "The Line" slinks and cries forlornly.

Meanwhile BRMC simplified things even further with acoustic tracks such as "Devil's Waitin'," "Fault Line," and "Complicated Situation." With harmonica sometimes thrown in to the mix, the slight roughness yet crisp sound of the acoustic tracks draws your ear to the lyrics. "Still Suspicion Holds You Tight" blends the acoustic with the electric for a memorable result.

While not the evil scream that the title brings to mind, "Howl" delivers a wispy, weightless sound. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club manages to offer guitar rock on "Howl" that is driven by the music as a whole, not a single element. Dissecting it for singles is unnecessary; "Howl" finds its strength when it is taken as a whole, letting the songs blend together.

B+

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