Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

Specter At The Feast

Written by: BV on 13/04/2013 21:20:09

So, it seems Black Rebel Motorcycle Club have yet again got their hands on the throttle in an attempt to once again make an album suitable for cruising the dusty highways. Yet, it wouldn’t be a BRMC album without frequent lapses of psychedelia to support the fuzzy barrage of dusty riffing, so luckily for psych-lovers, BRMC have proclaimed that they have been greatly influenced by Pink Floyd on this effort. “Specter at the Feast”, the band’s seventh album, attempts to combine a greater focus on psychedelia with an energy level and a spirit of enthusiasm that seems much, much higher than on their previous two releases – to mixed levels of success.

Eerie album-opener “Fire Walker” sets the tone for the enhanced presence of psych on the album, with its low-key droning intro leading into a fuzz heavy bass riff that slowly builds up along with the drumming to create a moody, yet airy sounding track. The vocals add to the ‘airy’ quality, as they sound breathy and reverb drenched – a classic vocal mix in the world of psych, that fits perfectly into the soundscape BRMC have come to be known for.

Seeing as most of the tracks on “Specter at the Feast” have a runtime of 3-4 minutes and then some. Combine this with a total of 12 tracks, and you’ve got yourself a long-runner that demands slightly more than build-up songs to maintain the interest of the listener. Luckily BRMC have chosen to include some power-house tracks of fuzzy riffing, gritty vocals and brutal drumming in the form of “Rival” and “Teenage Disease”. The former contains an upbeat classic garage-rock riff fueled by a cascading guitar sound, a dirty sounding bass and unrelenting drumming, courtesy of the power trio that is BRMC – add to that a catchy chorus and a set of lyrics that are easily recognizable even whilst drunk off your ass, and you’ve got yourself a hit where the sing-along-effect is instantaneous – at least for me.

Even though BRMC have included catchy garage songs, frequent lapses of psychedelia and cascades of fuzzy guitars I constantly have a feeling of not really being totally attentive towards the album. The ‘simple’ formula of BRMC coupled with far too long run times for most of the tracks, makes for an album that is not only a bit too long, but perhaps also a bit too bland in the long run as many of the 12 tracks become somewhat anonymous when given 10+ spins on the stereo. Long-runner and album-closer “Lose Yourself” is a great example of this, since the beautifully sounding, slowly-driven and highly melancholic track is actually really quite good - I mean really good. The problem however, is that there is not nearly enough going on in the track to justify a runtime of close to nine minutes.

For better or worse BRMC are back and their newest release “Specter at the Feast” is in essence everything you could have expected from them with few real detours along the way. Unfortunately that takes away quite a lot of thrills from an album I can’t see myself getting fully into in the near future, despite excellent tracks like “Rival” and “Fire Walker”.


Download: Rival, Fire Walker, Lose Yourself
For The Fans Of: Wrong Side of Vegas, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Black Angels

Release Date 18.03.2013
Abstract Dragon

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