Thursday, March 21, 2013



We don't even know what classifies modern bands as "shoegaze" in the days that find distortion, feedback and (this is nothing foreign to Detroiters), dare we say, garage rock. But as commonplace and oft-used as these characteristics are in popular music, there are a few bands that have been doing it for years successfully. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club has always brought layers upon layers of emotion, sometimes hidden behind guitar-work and, in the case of Specter At The Feast, even some damned fine organ work. And that's what separates this release from their previous work.

While Howl still stands as the album with the most energy and radio friendly hits, each subsequent release has added additional maturity and depth. Has that scared off some fans? Maybe. But it's definitely shown that BRMC is capable of putting on one hell of a live show, and stepping out of the Jesus & Mary Chain shadow that they lumped themselves in with early in their career.

Specter At The Feast still brings the hits, pushing the energy and noise when it's really necessary, but keeping itself restrained and emotional when need be. In fact, the album starts on a somewhat somber note, slowly opening with "Firewalker". But fret not, they dive full force into sonic monstrosity with "Hate the Taste" and "Rival". So, if you're looking for a tame, mellowed-out and sedated BRMC, they haven't quite gotten there yet entirely. But their maturity is showing, there's not doubt about that.

If you close your eyes and really listen, you'll be treated to an angst-y Kurt Cobain, the depth of Sonic Youth and maybe even a little Edward Sharpe at times. Is that too much of a lovefest for the band? Probably. But at the very least, this is an album that you could listen to 100 times and hear something different with each listen. As the band departs from their wild roots and settles with something a little more user-friendly, they slowly establish themselves as a band we're likely going to be listening to for the next 20-plus years.

—Adam o'Connor