Twenty years ago Black Rebel Motor Cycle Club (BRMC) formed. Taking their name from Marlon Brando’s motorcycle gang in the 1953 film, The Wild One; BRMC returns with their eighth album, Wrong Creatures (produced by Nick Launay (Nick Cave, Arcade Fire) and recorded at Sunset Sound, Los Angeles) offering over one hour of new material across twelve tracks.
DFF introduces Wrong Creatures, a tribal, haunting, downright petrifying instrumental track, which allows one to visualise (whether intentionally or not) an ancient civilisation initiating a barbaric, yet not evil sacrifice; for one also senses a glimmer of love on DFF. Spook follows. It has all the elements of a classic up-tempo signature BRMC track. Albeit slightly banal, regardless of one’s age, you will Shuffle your feet. Banality is not to be mistaken for being lacklustre or apathetic; Spook sounds fresh. King of Bones builds upon the adrenaline rush Spooks provides; whilst also providing some insightful lyrics: But all you want you just feel, no world outside Stay with my bones, stay ’til you like. We’re only plastic toys, break down to size. Stay with my bones, stay ’til you like.
Little Thing Gone Wild is easily the catchiest, instant, single, stadium-ready song on Wrong Creatures; yet it offers meaning and tells a story of an existential crisis between a man and his deity: Lord don’t hold me down while I’m still creeping. I wanna see the ground till I’m down reaping. Lord, you hear me loud until my soul? Won’t you let me out you got the wrong creature? Likewise, Haunt offers some ethereal lyrics: Swallow what’s still brave in you. Like metal in your jaw. Trying not to melt away. Beginning to unthaw Dead flag, ship of fools you command I’m trying not to wither away. And I’m wondering if I’ll feel the grace I’m trying to unlove this world. But it has no other place I just keep playing that empty hand. Nothing I can cheat.
Much of Wrong Creatures can easily be described as classic BRMC (B.R.M.C, Take Them On, On Your Own), albeit with less commentary about the US Government. Nonetheless, the hunger from their early years remains. You can almost hear their bellies Howl collectively. There are also successful ventures into a new musical territory. Calling Them All Away makes wonderful use of Indian strings. Circus Bazooko transports you into a scary circus with Pennywise like clowns, wearing masks (one hopes) more terrifying than anything worn by Slipknot or Mushroomhead. Fear not, the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and Magical Mystery Tour psychedelic influences across Circus Bazooko offer light at the end of the tunnel. Playout track, All Rise, makes use of a string section. Influences include John Lennon as well as Kula Shaker’s Hollow Man (Part 1) piano arrangements.
BRMC have added their life experience, maximised their lyrical capacity and utilised Leah Shapiro (who successfully underwent surgery after being diagnosed with a brain condition called Chiari Malformations in 2014 and is now in her tenth year as BRMC’s drummer) to perfect their original sound with an even darker and haunting twist.