Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Wrong Creatures album review

San Fran gloomsters’ “conversation with death” sounds more alive than ever

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Death. Religion. Ghosts. General bleakness. Bits that sound like The Jesus & Mary Ch… did someone shout “Black Rebel bingo!”?

You’d be forgiven for at first glance thinking Wrong Creatures is a by-rote offering from San Francisco’s most monochrome sons. But delve deeper and it appears that the five-year break brought on by drummer Leah Shapiro’s brain surgery has somehow revved them on to greater things.

Initially described by guitarist Peter Hayes as “a conversation with death”, it opens in suitably sombre mood, the ancient sacrificial drum’n’hum of DFF giving way to Acorah-rock chuggersSpook, King Of Bones and Haunt. Then, just as you’re tagging Wrong Creatures as a playable ouija board in firm contact with J&MC’s Darklands, it takes a turn for the psychodelic. Echo is a lustrous cosmic echo of Walk On The Wild Side, while the Doorsy atmospherics and celestial hooks of Ninth Configuration and Question Of Faith shroud personal and religious soul-searching that suggest Wrong Creatures is actually a conversation with their younger, wronger selves. Certainly the dark carnival of Circus Bazooko and stirring postrock finale All Rise prove they’re tackling their crippling Psychocandy addiction, making Wrong Creatures something of a colourful rebirth.

It’s amazing what’s happened to their rock’n’roll.

Death. Religion. Ghosts. General bleakness. Bits that sound like The Jesus & Mary Ch… did someone shout “Black Rebel bingo!”?

You’d be forgiven for at first glance thinking Wrong Creatures is a by-rote offering from San Francisco’s most monochrome sons. But delve deeper and it appears that the five-year break brought on by drummer Leah Shapiro’s brain surgery has somehow revved them on to greater things.

Initially described by guitarist Peter Hayes as “a conversation with death”, it opens in suitably sombre mood, the ancient sacrificial drum’n’hum of DFF giving way to Acorah-rock chuggersSpook, King Of Bones and Haunt. Then, just as you’re tagging Wrong Creatures as a playable ouija board in firm contact with J&MC’s Darklands, it takes a turn for the psychodelic. Echo is a lustrous cosmic echo of Walk On The Wild Side, while the Doorsy atmospherics and celestial hooks of Ninth Configuration and Question Of Faith shroud personal and religious soul-searching that suggest Wrong Creatures is actually a conversation with their younger, wronger selves. Certainly the dark carnival of Circus Bazooko and stirring postrock finale All Rise prove they’re tackling their crippling Psychocandy addiction, making Wrong Creatures something of a colourful rebirth.

It’s amazing what’s happened to their rock’n’roll.