BLACK REBEL MOTORCYCLE CLUB - "B.R.M.C."
BLACK REBEL MOTORCYCLE CLUB
Virgin Records - April 3, 2001
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s debut, “B.R.M.C.,” is the kind of record that when a listener revisits it they inevitably think, “Why don’t I listen to this more often”. It’s just that good. The dark and sexy slow burn starts straight away with the introductory one-two punch of “Love Burns” and “Red Eyes and Tears” but it’s then that the three-piece -which then included drummer, Nick Jago - blows the noir roof off the joint. The driving, “Whatever Happened To My Rock N’ Roll (Punk Song)” is a churning and bombastic explosion. Bassist Robert Been begins with the lyrical throw down, “You want a part of me, you want the whole thing,” so that when guitarist Peter Hayes takes the chorus and ruminates, “I fell in love with the sweet sensation (rock and roll), I gave my heart to a simple chord (rock and roll), I gave my soul to a new religion (rock and roll), Whatever happened to you (rock and roll)?” every kid who ever caught the bug suffers (or embraces) a flashback and perhaps a forgotten joy. The urgent guitar assault is locomotive and a reminder that Hayes did a stint studying guitar cacophony under the master tutelage of Anton Newcombe in the Brian Jonestown Massacre (Side note, if you can find the 2003 documentary, “Dig!,” chronicling the BJT Massacre and the Dandy Warhols it’s worth it if only for Hayes casually smoking a cigarette against the hood of a van while pulled over by Georgia State Police and telling the camera at 2:38 in this clip, “I’m starting to think maybe I shouldn’t have come along for this ride.”) not to mention that I’d argue this video is better than any the Strokes ever made. The pretty acoustic intro to, “Awake,” and lyrical theme of, "Salvation,"remind that Been’s father Michael's band The Call, was influenced by The Band in the same way that U2 was (tragically, the elder Been suffered a fatal heart attack on August 19, 2010 following a Black Rebel Motorcycle Club performance he had just mixed sound for at the Pukkelpop Festival in Hasselt, Belgium). “B.R.M.C.” stands up as a sturdy collection - it spawned five singles, including the ringing "Spread Your Love" - and there is nary a clunker in the seven studio full-lengths that have followed it.
Standouts: “Whatever Happened To My Rock N’ Roll (Punk Song),” “White Palms,” "Spread Your Love"