Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

Beat the Devil's Tattoo - Abstract Dragon 2010

Tracks: 1. Beat the Devil's Tattoo / 2. Conscience Killer / 3. Bad Blood / 4. War Machine / 5. Sweet Feeling / 6. Evol / 7. Mama Taught me Better / 8. River Styx / 9. The Toll / 10. Aya / 11. Shadow's Keeper / 12. Long Way Down / 13. Half State


With new drummer Leah Shapiro BRMC are back with a new studio album. The sound of the group is somewhere between "Baby 81" and "Howl"; less acoustic and basic blues inspired than "Howl"; but still with several numbers that might have fitted well into that album.

As other reviewers have stated the album may well feel a little too longwinded and some of the less interesting tracks probably could well have been omitted, or possibly edited. However, it is remarkable that people seem to disagree about which songs are the weak ones.

Personally, I think that the album has plenty of good songs and I won't hesitate to call solid and successful. There are though, no songs challenging my favorite with the group, "All You Do is Talk" from "Baby 81", though a couple of songs such as "Evol" and "Bad Blood" come close.

Among other favorites the melodic acoustic ballad "The Toll" should be mentioned - a very moving song with nice harmony vocals from Courtney Jane who sounds almost like Emmylou Harris. Acoustic and melodic is also "Sweet Feeling", a song that grows with each listening.

A few tracks sound very T. Tex inspired. This goes for to the heavy "Aya" - could almost have been an outtake from the "Electric Warrior". Bolan type boogie can be found on "River Styx". "Long Way Down", with piano accompaniment is also melodic and almost Beatles-esque in its sound. The title track could easily have stemmed from the "Howl Sessions". "Shadow's Keeper" has a Britpop sound, which might well have been inspired by Oasis.

The closing track "Half State" is probably too long, while the "Conscience Killer", "War Machine" and "Mama Taught Me Better" all belong to a category of numbers I could have done without.

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