Released March 8
Get your leathers out, Black Rebel are back. Returning for their sixth studio album and with a new drummer to boot, their swampy psychedelia monster is back with blues on arm and folk on the other.
Since parting company with record label Virgin after the stripped back folk revival of ‘Howl’, ‘the band that broke the floor’ have manage to sneak in ‘Baby 81’ and a low key release of instrumental (and near suicidal) LP ‘The Effects of 333’ to mixed receptions after several line up alterations and changes.
Despite the departure of long-time on-off drummer, Nick Jago, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club have found a peace with their sound and ‘Beat The Devil’s Tattoo’ knits together the healthier sounds of their back catalogue.
It may seem like a been here and done it jobby but you don’t get that vibe from this album and the heavier psychedelic stomp of ‘War Machine’ sits well with the title track blues of ‘Beat The Devil’s Tattoo’ and ‘River Styx’ resulting in a highly accomplished sound.
They’ve never been for the faint hearted as it burns and broods in the same Black Rebel way and the anguish in the vocals remain as Peter Hayes groans: “She’s a reckless lover, with blood-stained hands ‘round the neck of her helpless man,” behind Robert Levon Been's gruesome bass sounds in ‘Aya’, while he croons “everything’s taking its toll, it’s a moment we carry alone, with a cause there’s a cure for the soul,” to keep things on the heavier side of happy in 'The Toll.'
When you get down to the nitty gritty with BRMC it all begins to make more sense, behind the fuzz and big bollocks lies something more fragile and untouched, while it’s laboured and low on energy it also possesses a charm that sweats passion and washes the gimmicks away.
Their newest offering is better and more whole than anything that has previously been sent our way. While many of their peers may have left the garage long ago and have been engulfed in their own sanctimonious storm, BRMC are still revelling on the fringes, getting all the better for it.