Wrong Creatures is the 8th studio album from Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. They have been around long enough to have 8 records? Looking back at the history of this site (aka, my external brain) i see that i first reviewed them in May of 2001. That's about 17 years ago...
Back then, i found the hype of the band exceeded my enjoyment of them. I used to fight against that kind of thing a lot, back in the early days of the site. Now, i am so far removed from "hype" that is does not even register with me. I am stuck in my own little bubble of promos and strange drone/ambient bands.
And BRMC's promo company sent me their latest record. I was surprised to see that they are still around. Okay. Are they still "buzzworthy"?
Now, i find that i like BRMC okay. They have always seemed to me like a band that consists of people who listened to the early JAMC records and decided to model their lives after the Reid Brothers. I can respect that, i can. But for the most part their records have always just been "Okay", no matter what the buzz has been.
On the other hand, the few times that I have seen them in concert have been very enjoyable. This type of music comes across very well in a live setting.
And there are a few moments on Wrong Creatures that come across really well. In these few moments, BRMC transcend their status as the world's best JAMC tribute band. They reach for something further, and they get there.
I am thinking, specifically, of the track Echo, where a little bit of early The Verve and even a tad of Spiritualized gets blended into the JAMC of their rock. This song is lovely, with amazing melodies and cascading rhythms., and it shines through the haze of what they do as a shining moment of beauty.
Calling Them All Away also stands out, again for a hint of Vervishness. The best moments of The Verve reference early psychedelia, and here BRMC mine that same field to great effect. This is a rumbling haze that drones along.
But at heart BRMC are a blues band. Ninth Configuration is a long song that really drags on, and i mean that in a good way, the guitar going all crazy in layers and layers. This sounds like a JAMC bluesy number, Peter Hayes doing a great job of channeling William Reid.
Question of Faith is another great bluesy number, but here paired with a sultry bass and drum riff that rolls along. The rhythm here is great.
Overall though, there is a certain sameness to what BRMC do. The vocals are all at the same level, a subdued muttering over the music. even the production seems kind of flat -- their music is always a steady, textured roar.
Still, they do shine on a few moments here, showing that they still have something to say. I am sure that their fans are thrilled with this new record.