Kicking off with the instrumental “DFF” and the droning drive of “Spook,” Black Rebel Motorcycle Club is back with “Wrong Creatures,” its eighth album and the first in five years.
The delay, caused in part by the brain surgery and recovery of drummer Leah Shapiro, hasn’t dulled the edges of the trio that takes its name from Marlon Brandon’s gang in the movie “The Wild Ones.”
Masters of the buzzing, propulsive wall-of-sound, BMRC puts together songs that flow one into next, the dark “King of Bones” to the drifting, atmospheric “Haunt” to “Ninth Configuration,” which builds and builds under guitarist Peter Hayes’ vocals, to the slow grinding “Questions of Faith."
Produced by Nick Launay, who’s best known for his work with Nick Cave, “Wrong Creatures” indeed has some Cave-esque moments.
But those who would tag “Echo” as a nod to Echo and the Bunnymen and other late '70s/early '80s English post punkers haven’t really listened to the song. Robert Levon Been’s bass line sounds like it was lifted from a Lou Reed song and the whole approach of melody, buzz and drift is Velvet Underground at its loveliest.
With the shaking “Little Thing Gone Wild,” BMRC reclaims its version of garage rock, kicking off a four-song rush to the finish followed by the Beatle-esque “Circus Bazooko,” with Hayes sounding a lot like John Lennon, the swelling, sprawling “Carried From The Start” and the piano-rooted, stately closer “All Rise.”
On its 2001 debut, BRMC asked “Whatever Happened to My Rock ‘n’ Roll”? Thankfully, and thanks to them, it’s right here on “Wrong Creatures.” Grade: A.