Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
Beat the Devil's Tattoo


2.0
poor

Review

by Eric USER (161 Reviews)
March 14th, 2010 | 28 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: It seems like everything Black Rebel Motorcycle Club creates on Beat The Devil’s Tattoo has been produced before... and they should know. It was done by them.

New releases from high profile bands are abound this year- Minus the Bear, The National, Radiohead, the list goes on and on. Naturally, high expectations are equally evident. I don’t think fans would be too disappointed if one of said well-liked bands produced a similar-sounding albums. The stakes are different for the subject of this review, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, though. Fact of the matter is, they can’t get away with producing yet another unfocused, floundering album along the lines of Howl, inconsistent and leaving much to be desired. Sadly, Beat The Devil's Tattoo is pretty clear evidence of exactly that. Did BRMC make the same record again out of fear of a backlash? I can’t say. Either way though, Beat The Devil’s Tattoo is a poor showing from a band reluctant to push themselves.

If you’ve heard BRMC’s soulful and bluesy take on indie rock before, you’ve heard more than enough of Beat The Devil's Tattoo. The hazy, almost Southern drawl from Howl is back at work again, albeit on a new label (the band’s own). The influence from psychedelic rock and harmonica-driven blues is all over BTDT, but disappointingly it only results in an uneven product. Black Rebels’ prove that they can create a sinister, even interesting, atmosphere with a song like “River Styx.” Though, for every “River Styx,” there’s a few “War Machine”s, songs that miss their mark and come off as sloppy and misguided. On top of that, a penultimate 10-minute drag of a song results in a nearly unbearably boring end to the album. The whole of BTDT is enveloped in a hazy fog, and it feels almost like the band went through afterwards and tried to cover up each song with enough effects to obscure the sound into oblivion. In most cases, simpler would have been better.

To reiterate though, my biggest complaint with Black Rebel Motorcycle Club can be attributed to the lack of growth. Moving to their own label, one would assume they can finally open up, be themselves, and experiment a little, try something new. That is certainly not the case here. The potential has been there, and it still remains. Tracks where Black Rebel Motorcycle Club turn up the heat a little along with the volume like “Bad Blood” or “Mama Taught Me Better” are proof. Beefy rock tracks with a little swagger and bounce, that is what BRMC were meant to jam out to. More than anything, they feel honest- a sentiment that isn’t echoed throughout the record... bringing us back to the point that began the review.

It’s more than a little tiring to hear the same record again. When the tracks hit their end, and BRMC have had their chance, Beat The Devil’s Tattoo comes off exactly as Howl. That same dark, fuzzy sound is abundant, and the whole thing feels unfocused. Had this not been so incredibly similar to the equally wavering Howl, I'm sure my opinion would be a tad higher. Beat The Devil’s Tattoo has nothing new to offer the stalling indie rock. I feel comfortable speculating that fans of the band will be relatively disappointed in the recycled material. It seems like everything Black Rebel Motorcycle Club creates on Beat The Devil’s Tattoo has been produced before... and they should know. It was done by them.



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user ratings (69)
Chart.
3.3
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
SeaAnemone
March 14th 2010


20527 Comments


am I right or am I right?

Digging: Pharmakon - Bestial Burden

J.R.
March 14th 2010


46 Comments


Is it just me or are most of the 'members also liked' albums completely different from this?

Good review, pos'd. heard the title track and kinda liked it, guess I'll have to put this on my 'listen to the whole damn album already' list

edit: nvm the members also liked albums are getting more like the sound of this one with every refresh, first it was NOFX and Offspring, now it's... getting a little better

SeaAnemone
March 14th 2010


20527 Comments


thanks... and you may like it... ratings seem to be all over the place.

PayneTiger777
March 14th 2010


4404 Comments


"Yet, I can’t say this reaches the same level as Howl simply because it, BTDT follows Howl’s unsuccessful, wandering footsteps."

I don't understand this sentence. You might want to reword it. Other than that, it was a good review. Pos'd.

G3N3R1C
March 14th 2010


1945 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I bought this the day it came out and have been listening to it on-and-off since then. It made a great first impression, really dig it.

SeaAnemone
March 14th 2010


20527 Comments


Thanks Payne, you're right... tried to fix it up.

joshuatree
Emeritus
March 14th 2010


3742 Comments


making genre generalizations and misconceptions your intro paragraph is usually not the best way to start a review

bloc
March 14th 2010


34919 Comments


Debut was awesome, haven't checked out this band since.

SeaAnemone
March 14th 2010


20527 Comments


I agree, joshuatree.

joshuatree
Emeritus
March 14th 2010


3742 Comments


SeaAnemone may just be the new middle school.

SeaAnemone
March 14th 2010


20527 Comments


joshuatree may just be the new middle school bully.

joshuatree
Emeritus
March 14th 2010


3742 Comments


To reiterate though, my biggest complaint with SeaAneomne can be attributed to the lack of growth.

SeaAnemone
March 14th 2010


20527 Comments


who's this "SeaAneomne" guy? sounds like an asshole

Ire
March 14th 2010


41795 Comments


I'm disappointed by this.

SeaAnemone
March 14th 2010


20527 Comments


seriously though Cam, thanks for the critique. I appreciate it. You're probably right... while I still stand by my opinions your observation makes me think they probably don't belong in the review.

klap
Staff Reviewer
March 15th 2010


10495 Comments


besides the first paragraph, which came off a bit preachy to me (hey, i think indie rock is alive and well haha), i thought the rest of your review was some of your best writing to date. sometimes you speak with too much of your own voice in past reviews, and that's definitely not a bad thing, but sometimes it's come off as too affected to me, and not really genuine. here you stick to your points and make a good case for why this album is poor in a reasonable length. good stuff

Digging: Caribou - Our Love

Jim
March 15th 2010


5110 Comments


i bought baby 81 when it came out for some reason and it is honestly one of the most boring albums i've ever heard.

this should be terrible.

Titan50
March 15th 2010


4588 Comments


Debut was amazing

SeaAnemone
March 15th 2010


20527 Comments


hardcore fans of the band will definitely enjoy this but I can't see this being accepted by too many.

klap: thanks for reading... if you see this I'm going to fix up the first paragraph, you and Cam are right about it. Thanks for the kind words though, any other tidbits of critique are appreciated.

iarescientists
March 15th 2010


5863 Comments


In a genre that once seemed so eclectic and boundary-pushing


it never was and it still is



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