Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Who put the OtR in BRMC?

Geez... who put the Over the Rhine in Black Rebel Motorcycle Club?

T-Bone Burnett, apparently.

I remember when Bono and The Edge were hyping this band back when their first album came out. I also remember listening to their self-titled debut and being fairly bored with their noisey, Sonic Youth-inspired brand of art-rock. But it would seem that their new album, Howl, find them taking a sharp stylistic turn; The Washington Times reports:

What does it take for a band to completely and utterly scrap its sound, turn 180 degrees and buy a new sonic wardrobe? In the case of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, a West Coast trio that had specialized in noisy, ambient alt-rock, it takes a little "recording assistance" from roots-rock singer-songwriter and producer extraordinaire T-Bone Burnett.

"Howl," the band's third album, was "written, produced and performed by B.R.M.C," according to a prideful credit in the liner notes. But "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" boardman Mr. Burnett's fingerprints are all over this disc, a retro experiment in acoustic blues, gospel and folk. Gone are the sludge and white noise of the band's acclaimed 2000 debut and its 2003 follow-up, "Take Them On, On Your Own"; its new fetishes are harmonica, Hammond organ and natural hand claps.

And then there's Tim Sendra's review at AMG:

Gone are the insistent tempos, the snarling vocals, and the sheets of guitar noise. Gone is the hostile and often belligerent pose of the first two albums. Gone is the influence of noise rock bands like the Velvet Underground and the Jesus and Mary Chain. The band has embraced classic American music, namely country, blues, and gospel. It's dramatically expanded its sound to the point where you wonder if the albums that preceded this were some kind of reductionist prank. The band has a light touch and sense of drama and arrangement here that seems to have come out of the blue. (Check the credit to T-Bone Burnett for "additional recording assistance" for a clue, though.)

Country, blues, and gospel? T-Bone Burnett? Wow... suddenly, this is at the very top of my must-hear list.


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