March 19, 2013
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - 'Specter At The Feast'
BRMC dodge indoor-shades and leather-jacket-clad self parody to find a second wind
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7 / 10
Six albums and 12 years in, BRMC could easily have descended fully into indoor-shades and leather-jacket-clad self parody. Instead, this new record is far lusher and braver than anyone had any right to expect. The tragic impetus for these new songs came from the death of bassist Robert Levon Been’s father Michael, an occasional BRMC guitarist they called the band’s ‘fourth member’. Michael’s old band The Call had a hit in the ’80s with ‘Let The Day Begin’, and BRMC cover it here. What could have turned out maudlin becomes a righteous salute to their friend and mentor. A poignant sadness runs through tracks such as ‘Fire Walker’, with its eerie nods to Angelo Badalamenti’s Twin Peaks score, and the beautiful and stately ‘Returning’. There are ponderous moments later on, like the uninspired ‘Teenage Disease’, but this is a band who’ve found a second wind.
Kevin EG Perry
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