The first time I saw Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, I was turned off by how miserable they were.
It was the 2002 and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club was third on the bill of NME Awards Tour in the UK. They looked as if they wanted to be anywhere else apart from deepest, darkest Tyneside. However, they were actually on top form that night. Supporting their debut album, the crowd was loving their garage rock sound, bad attitudes, and lack of audience interaction. If anything, it left me a bit cold towards them. I’m not saying a band is required to engage but the holier than thou facade left a bitter aftertaste. One which I’ve never really gotten over.
But every artist deserves a second chance. Which is why I decided to give Wrong Creatures a proper listen.
Since then, my tastes have changed and I’m curious to see how Black Rebel Motorcycle Club have grown. I’m sure that they’re not producing the same album over and over again (that is the job of AC/DC). By chance, I heard “Wrong” and was caught off guard. It sounded so mature and full of hidden depths with places where you could lose yourself for a while. That’s the sort of album I like to explore from time to time. I like to empty my thoughts and disappear into a record.
Despite my apprehension, I was surprised to see how Black Motorcycle Club have evolved.
This twelve track affair is a slow-burning beast. They’ve seemingly traded their signature stomp for a more focused, 80’s Alternative rock sound. Reminicent of The Mission, The Cult, or Fleetwood Mac before they became a soap opera. This new-found maturity showcases just how confident they are in their abilities. A maturity artists tend to achieve only after the anger of youth has dissipated.
Considering Black Rebel Motorcycle Club released five songs to the general public before Wrong Creatures was released, I’m amazed I haven’t run into anything before the daydream that is “Echo”. This might have something to do with what’s popular on the radio these days. Songs like “Haunt”, “Question of Faith”, “Little Thing Gone Wild” and “Carried From the Start” would’ve been Alternative radio hits a few years ago. I can guarantee it. But these days, if it’s not remixed or containing a special guest, it’s destined to slip through the cracks. My favorite is the album’s finale “All Rise”, due to the build towards the end. I’m a sucker for anything that takes about half the song to get to a high point.
But is Wrong Creatures any good?
In short, the answer is yes! Wrong Creatures is a good album, however, there’s a catch of sorts. While it’s a dependable album and enjoyable in the background, I still can’t say it’s amazing. If I said that, I’d be a liar and next in line for the Presidency of the USA (that’s how it works these days right?). But that doesn’t mean it’s a poor album either. Hell I can’t even say its an average one. Just like the band, my tastes have changed over the years and this is one I have no problem saying I enjoyed.
At times, you need that sort of album. The kind you can put on and it’ll reflect your mood. One that lets you absorb the feedback. On that point, Wrong Creatures is a winner and deserves to be checked out. Whilst it’s not set the world on fire, it might smolder away in your mind and creep up on you when you least expect it. There’s no reinvention of the wheel here and maybe they’re just as miserable as ever. I’m just so glad they no longer sound like they want to be elsewhere.