On 2005's Howl, the Rebels stepped sideways, turning down the fuzz tone in favor of a more acoustic-based take on folk and blues. But don't come to Baby 81 expecting additional twists. The disc marks a return to BRMC's signature sound, and while it's likely to please the combo's longtime boosters, it's not exactly a bold artistic leap forward.
"Took Out a Loan," the first track here, sends a message about the players' intent by way of hard-n-nasty guitar, slam-bang rhythms and lines such as "I feel confused about the way it's done" that singer Peter Hayes growls with as much Anglophilic attitude as he can muster. Later, on "Weapon of Choice" (the album's first single), Hayes and cohorts Robert Levon Been and Nick Jago hint at a Howl moment with an unplugged intro before ripping into the sort of garage-y psychedelia that helped establish their rep.
Baby 81 is satisfying, albeit in an extremely familiar way. If these guys don't start mixing things up, no new members will want to visit their Club.
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
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