Black Rebel Motorcycle Club | Wrong Creatures | Album Review

Label: Vagrant Records
Rating (out of five stars): 2

“Whaddya got?” Marlon Brando replies when he is asked what he is rebelling against in the 1953 film The Wild One. That film is where the San Francisco-based band Black Rebel Motorcycle Club got their namesake. The band used to be just what the name sounds like: dark, gritty, spitting in the eyes of the normal guys, and as cool as Brando.

The group has perfected their sulky droning sound over the last 20-some years, but Wrong Creatures offers just more of the same in a more forgettable way. Lead singer Peter Hayes’ sneering and aloof vocals are part of the group’s appeal. Like the whip of a dominatrix, the flagellation of his voice just sounds and feels so good. Hayes’ voice rips and bites with a sick pleasure when he sings, “Never thought I’d rather die / Than keep her by my side,” in “Love Burns,” a track off of their 2001 debut album B.R.M.C. But the brashly poetic lyrics fail to fiercely grab the listener’s ear, like a domineering but ignorable mother, in Wrong Creatures. 

The tracks waver from mediocre garage rock to unruly musical experimentations that don’t quite land. The track “Circus Bazookoo” is one of the more promising tracks, simply because it sounds like a bizarro carnival tune with Hayes’ as the barker, but with not as much bite.

Wrong Creatures is by no means a bad record. It offers the prototypical BRMC sound of shrieking guitars, moaning basslines, pounding drums, and hypnotic rhythms. Wrong Creatures, however, does not have the same enthralling and borderline cocky rebellion as seen in nearly every previous BRMC record released. This record just makes its listeners wish that they were listening to an old BRMC album. ·

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