A sweet sensation, a simple chord, a new religion?...
There was a time back there, back in the wastelands of nu-metal, when
started to look quite attractive in certain lights.
Surrounded by the kind of ill-attired, florid jocks who could only turn
on a Foot Locker fetishist, they were grim rock days. Of course, thanks
to The Strokes‘ adorable savoir-faire and the slightly deviant matching
set of Jack and Meg White, sex is back on the musical agenda with a
whip-handed vengeance. Now, with[a]Black Rebel Motorcycle Club[/a]
, a new dark
frisson has been added to the menu.
Before anyone decides such issues “trivialise the music”, let’s point
out that it’s little to do with the way Robert Turner and Peter Hayes
look (for the record, impeccably cool) and it certainly isn’t
recommended that all bands follow the example of dear old George Michael
and dress up like the Michelin Man in the quest for sexual shock.
Instead, [a]Black Rebel Motorcycle Club[/a]’s feedback-spiked music is simply evidence of something
that hasn’t been sanitised, something uncontrolled and illicit,
qualities which instantly makes it a good choice for consenting adults.
The obsessive guitar flicker of ‘Love Burns’, the ebb and surge of
‘Awake’ – these are songs with come-to-bed eyes and if the music
occasionally conveys gone-to-sleep wastedness instead, like the
enervated crash of ‘As Sure As The Sun’, that just adds to their
Despite what you might have heard, however, necrophilia is certainly not
their kink. [a]Black Rebel Motorcycle Club[/a]’s influences are obvious and well-documented – it is
faintly amazing that Alan McGee ended up with the Swedish showband and
not this group – but the exact components of their immaculate dark-side
synthesis become unimportant within five seconds of first song ‘Red Eyes
And Tears’. Like all bands that matter, they generate a thousand
brilliant moments all of their own, those telling fragments that fuse
into an exhilarating whole. The phrasing. The posture. The pauses. Even
their hair is moody.They probably shouldn’t let support band The View
back again to add percussion and harmonica to the Spiritualizedfreak-
out encore ‘Salvation’ – it’s like watching the YMCA girl on ‘Pop Idol’ –
but an over-generosity to fellow performers is hardly a fault.
Tonight, though, it’s the nonchalant vocal-sharing on ‘Whatever Happened
To My Rock’N’Roll? (Punk Song)’ that most vividly encapsulates the [a]Black Rebel Motorcycle Club[/a]
vocation. Turner dispatches the verses, Hayes spits out the chorus and
it’s ludicrously thrilling because the message is inescapable. [a]Black Rebel Motorcycle Club[/a]
an entity, focussed and complete. It doesn’t matter who does what. It’s
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that they do it at all that counts.
A sweet sensation, a simple chord, a new religion? If that’s the
doctrine [a]Black Rebel Motorcycle Club[/a]
follow, it’s also the doctrine they spread.