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Baby 81
Artist: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
Label: ©2007 RCA Records

Every once in a blue moon, I come upon a gem, I was doing some research on an alternative band from the ‘90’s, The Call, from a whatever-happened-to-them perspective. I read a concert review of BRMC and Michael Been playing piano on one of their songs in concert. It turned out Robert Levon Been of BRMC was the son of Michael Been, formerly of The Call. I suddenly had a “Duh, I should have had a V8” moment, which I’m deliberately having now. Well, I hit the trifecta. I checked out the music, bought some of their music, and even got a chance to see them live as they passed through Buffalo. Plus, I even got to meet Michael, who was running sound for them. Their concert review in the local paper was gushing. 

On to the review, I didn’t know what to expect the first time. All I remember is instantly falling in love with their sound, a gritty, dirty, in-your-face, straight ahead rock ‘n’ roll vibe that envelops the listener. “Took Out a Loan” smacks you dab between the ears with a wall of distorted guitar and lyrics moaning of self-preservation: 

I took out a loan on my empty heart, babe 
I took out a loan for my patient soul 
And I feel alive as long as I don’t need you 
And I feel alive as long as I keep hold
“Windows” and “Not What You Wanted” are somewhat Beatlesque in their underlying templates. Good stuff! Standout tracks are “Weapons of Choice,” “All You Do Is Talk,” and “666 Conducer,” 666 has a dark blues vibe with almost a quasi-reference, if I may, to a biblical theme of the fall of the harlot of Babylon and the anti-Christ. “All You Do Is Talk” gets my vote for needing airplay, rather than the fodder that seems to endlessly flood these so-called radio playlists. It reminded me of the same feeling I get when I hear U2’s “Where the Streets Have No Name,” like a rock anthem that can give you a chill up the spine.

All in all, there isn’t one weak song on Baby 81. If you haven’t heard of these guys, give them a try. Maybe you’ll have a V8 moment too.

Brad Snyder 
aka thecannyshark

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