Having flirted with an acoustic, roots-Americana sound during drummer Nick Jago’s absence, cult San Francisco trio Black Rebel Motorcycle Club are back in full-on rock ’n’ roll mode – with introspective lyrics and inventive musicianship separating them from the noise of their contemporaries.
Sonically, BRMC have abandoned the intimacy of Howl and unleashed their weapons of mass distortion once again for an aggressive sound reminiscent of My Bloody Valentine with more bile and less fuzz - even from the bar you can almost smell the whiskey and cigarettes that’ve produced this timbre.
Masked by continual strobes, the black-clad figures of guitarists Peter Hayes and Robert Been began with the hypnotic Berlin, a typically no-nonsense track, which in keeping with their image, remains unvaryingly monochromatic - quickly followed by the best example of the joining of old BRMC to new BRMC, Weapon of Choice.
With a rebellious spirit still their defining characteristic, there’s a sturm und drang to the agit-pop of new album Baby 81 that finds favour with the kohl eyeliner MySpace boys and doomy blog chicks at the front, but it takes an acoustic offering to make the whole crowd electric.
Stripping down their raucous grooves to their essential elements, Ain’t No Easy Way proves there is still a pure heart below their dirty leather jackets.
Touring with the last album, time couldn’t save their souls. Here and now, they can’t wait for time to save themselves.