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Beat the Devil’s Tattoo
Artist: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
©2010 Abstract Dragon

I became a fan of this band a few years back and wish I’d known of them from the beginning a decade ago. BRMC is one of those buzz bands that has a swirling, rabid following once you discover them. They played my hometown of Buffalo, NY back in 2007. That particular show still lingers strong in my mind. 

Out of the gate, a dirty acoustic blues title song grips you like a boa constrictor. “Conscience Killer” distorts the gutteral notion of a southern rock bar with a fire and brimstone-pounding preacher. “River Styx” is of the same cloth with that dirty blues vibe. Much of this release reminds me of “Baby 81,” except taken to a more roots meets fuzz-punk-basement bar level. It’s very reminiscent of their early stuff. The title of the album was borne from an Edgar Allen Poe’ short story, “The Devil In The Belfry,” with the phrase originally meaning ‘the beat of a drum or a bugle signaling soldiers to return to their camps after dark’. New drummer Leah Shapiro gave the book of short stories to Robert Been, and the phrase stuck. From the beautiful Americana, “Sweet Feeling,” to the sweltering rockers, “Evol,” “Mamma Taught Me Better,” and “Aya” (my personal favorite), this band now hailing from Los Angeles has given meat to these disparaged bones of this reviewer.

Don’t get me wrong here. Very little new under the sun is explored with BRMC’s latest venture. They do it with such swagger though, that if you’re exposed to it, you cannot resist. My hope in the future of rock and roll has been restored. I’m pounding my fist on a pulpit, as if fire and brimstone were coursing through my veins. I would love to see this band invited to play Cornerstone at some point.



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