BLACK REBEL MOTORCYCLE CLUB – Howl (2005)

ASSIGNED BY THE HOST: Great Overlooked Artists
Review by: Eric Pember

This album is an unusual case to me. The concept is fairly clever, and one I probably would’ve loved had I listened to it when I was a teenager. Now, however, it just kinda sounds bland to me.

I dunno exactly why. I tried to read RateYourMusic reviews to try to figure out what exactly my issue was, and I saw the name “The Black Crowes” thrown around. I find them to be similarly bland, so that might be my issue here. 

Just to be clear, I don’t dislike all throwback roots-rock. I love The Black Keys and The White Stripes, and I’ve intended to listen more to Calexico for a while now. There’s just something about this that doesn’t quite click with me. It might be the oddly sterile sound, which you can say about The Black Crowes but not really any of those other bands (regardless of your overall feelings on them).

It’s not necessarily the case of having nothing to say, because it’s not like Dan Auerbach has anything to say either, but The Black Keys still sound good more often than not. It’s just that the sound is itself personalityless. 

The only track that really works with me is “The Line”, and that’s probably just because I’m a sucker for meaningful sprawl. Even then, it doesn’t quite click with me like The Boo Radleys’ The White Noise Revisited (to name an example of a truly mindblowing ending track) does.

Apparently, this is fairly atypical of the rest of their discography, so I might still need to listen to it. Their other stuff has been compared to Jesus and Mary Chain, so I’d probably like it just for that alone.
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Author: tomymostalas

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