Specter At The Feast

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

Abstract Dragon/Vagrant Records, 2013


REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


Each time a new Black Rebel Motorcycle Club disc arrives, it rests somewhere between great and absolutely essential. Like clockwork, since 2001 the Los Angeles via San Francisco rockers have released consistently great work every couple years or so. After suffering an unimaginable tragedy, Specter At The Feast, BRMC's seventh album, serves as not only a continuation of their noise rock meets alt-rock meets garage rock, but a memorial for their sound technician and singer's father who died while behind the soundboard at a show in Belgium in 2010. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The band has always showed strong skill with thick grooves, and that's no different here. Additionally, they toss in a few subdued moments, mixing tuneful balladry with rock that pulls from all areas of the spectrum. Lead off track "Fire Walker" injects elegant keys into rumbling basslines, a foreshadowing of the gorgeous layering prevalent through the entire disc. The calmer tracks, "Some Kind Of Ghost" and "Sometimes The Light" are sophisticated and moody ebbs of true beauty, almost approaching shoegaze tendencies. However, they certainly keep things heavy on "Hate The Taste" and 'Rival," which sit on the cusp of hard rock. Melodies are front and center on "Lullaby," while "Sell It" brings distorted guitars while constructing sonic waves of noise.

Not surprisingly, one of the finest moments here is BRMC's cover of The Call's "Let The Day Begin." Robert Levon Been's father was Michael Been, who played in The Call and was considered the fourth member of BRMC when he passed. This is a perfect way of paying homage, a visceral and catchy alt-rock tribute, a perfect match of hard-hitting and restrained beauty.

This release is as good as anything BRMC has done and at some points better (the eight minute closer "Lose Yourself" is among their finest work). Specter At The Feast is as great a place as anywhere to start for the first time listener. For the longtime fan, this is as diverse as Beat The Devil's Tattoo, showing remarkable progression while staying true to their multifaceted rock sound.

Rating: B+

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© 2013 Tom Haugen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Abstract Dragon/Vagrant Records, and is used for informational purposes only.