Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Specter At The Feast

It would seem that Black Rebel Motorcycle Club's best days may be behind them. After 2010's uneven Beat The Devil's Tattoo, the LA band return with Specter At The Feast - a rather soft spoken, ghostly album as the title would suggest - and one which does not quite capture earlier glories. Following the menacing 'Fire Walker' (which creeps in like fog), a cover of The Call's 'Let The Day Begin' jumps out the speakers and you would be forgiven for breathing a sigh of relief in thinking the boys are back on form. Well, not quite. 'Let The Day' sounds like a benediction, Peter Hayes' snarling vocals giving the song added oomph: "Here's to the babies in a brand new world / Here's to the beauty of the stars / Here's to the travelers on the open road / Here's to the dreamers in the bars."

Unfortunately this early promise is never quite fulfilled. Though the album's overall melancholy could be fuelled by the death of bassist Robert Levon Been's father (Call member Michael Been in 2010) the band just never find their feet, a trait ever since 2007's Baby 81. The wistful 'Remembering' and quiet beauty of 'Lullaby' ("You are the light to the earth / You are the light of this world") are both heartfelt and beautiful, yet the power that made BRMC such an exciting band seems to be missing. The wicked 'Hate To Taste' and 'Rival' are both fine rockers, but Hayes' screaming delivery on 'Teenage Disease' feels like he is trying too hard. Despite its faults, Specter At The Feast is still a decent album and well worth your attention but they need to find their mojo again - and fast.



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