Beat the Devil's Tattoo

Not Rated

Five studio albums in, California psych-garage trio Black Rebel Motorcycle Club are still religious zealots — worshippers in rock's Gothic cathedral. The song titles tell the tale: "Bad Blood," "War Machine," "River Styx." In "Aya," singer-guitarist Peter Hayes moans, "She's a reckless lover/With blood-stained hands/Around the neck of her helpless man." There was a time, circa 2001, when Black Rebel Motorcycle Club were supposed to inherit the Earth, or at least the mantle of Rock's Great Hope, but now they're free to be what they are: a genre band par excellence. On Beat the Devil's Tattoo they keep the tempos moderate and the volume loud, pouring on layers of distorted guitars; the infectious title track detours to the Mississippi Delta, with slide guitar ringing out over new drummer Leah Shapiro's Zeppelin-esque stomp. Devil's Tattoo is unremittingly grim, and undeniably fun. Few bands wear their frowns so well.

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