Black Rebel Mo­tor­cyle Club

Irish Examiner - - People -

★★★★✩ Black Rebel Mo­tor­cy­cle Club’s undimmed faith in the pri­mary of leather jack­ets, dark mir­ror shades and un­re­con­structed rock and roll has marked them as one of pop’s most en­dur­ing champions of old school val­ues.

It’s 17 years since the San Fran­cisco group emerged, with an al­ready retro Je­sus and Mary Chain-meets-Mar­lon Brando biker gang sen­si­bil­ity. But they dou­ble down on that per­spec­tive with a snarl and a swag­ger on back-to­ba­sics latest LP, pro­duced by Ar­cade Fire and Nick Cave col­lab­o­ra­tor Nick Lau­nay.

His great in­sight is that the BRMC’s for­mula doesn’t re­quire much in the way of rein­ven­tion. This is a band happy in its skin and wisely he lets them get on with it.

The tin­ker­ing is gen­er­ally at the mar­gins: opener ‘DFF’ is char­ac­terised by a spec­tral goth zing while ‘King Of Bones’ is a slow builder that cul­mi­nates in a ri­otous howl of vin­tage vent­ing (it’s an­gry even if, BRMC as ever, sound com­pletely la­conic).

BRMC are of­ten ac­cused to trow­ele­don angst. How­ever the dark­ness is more than af­fec­ta­tion. In 2010 singer Robert Been lost his fa­ther — also the group’s long-run­ning pro­ducer and en­gi­neer. And just three years ago drum­mer Leah Shapiro de­vel­oped a po­ten­tially lethal brain tu­mour (the cost of treat­ment was so pro­hib­i­tive fans ran a crowd­fund­ing cam­paign to help with the med­i­cal bills).

Here, their chic bleak­ness is at its most com­pelling on sin­gle ‘Lit­tle Thing Gone Wild’ — a high-kick­ing rum­bler that sug­gests Pix­ies and Vel­vet Un­der­ground hav­ing an af­ter-school scrap.

Af­ter two decades of end­less re­con­fig­u­ra­tion of the same blue­print, Black Rebel Mo­tor­cy­cle Club re­main as im­pres­sively de­voted as ever to their found­ing prin­ci­ples. And that makes

Wrong Crea­tures not only a record re­mark­ably at ease with it­self — but also per­haps their most de­fin­i­tive yet.

Robert Levon Been of Black Rebel Mo­tor­cy­cle Club.

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