May 10, 2007


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Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Baby 81
RCA Records, 2007

Entry-level alt-metal-grunge-sludge for mall rats of all suburban stripes. Living with this outlandishly average album for a week or so, I’ve come to empathize with how painful it must have been for tag-along little sisters, all the getting dissed, ditched and ignored. Despite its Hall of Fame tourist trappings – ooh, Beatles; ahh, Dylan; wooOOOoh Nirvana — Baby 81 can’t keep up with those artists (which line is more civically aware, dude: “The Times they are a-changin’” or “I might be alive as long as I don’t need you?”) and eventually loses interest in itself, in the end lifting up moss-covered logs in the hope of finding major-label album filler. It hasn’t the foggiest what it’s trying to sound like, unless maybe Def Leppard’s first LP or a songwriting demo for Lupine Howl. In 2005, BRMC tried channeling Jim Croce for a few songs, but success never sits well with needle-and-spoon hair bands, an axiom proven once again by this absent, posturing return to solo-less Jesus & Mary Chain-as-metalloids doodling. C+Eric W. Saeger