Tuesday, 16 April 2013
A Year before the 2011 Pukkelpop festival tragedy a different tragedy was taking place in Hasselt for Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. Bass player Robert Been's father, Michael Been, died of a heart attack backstage at the festival the band was playing. Been Sr. not only was family, but also the band's sound engineer. Maybe even more important, he was their mentor. Needless to say the band were a mess after this loss. And so the music became part of the mourning, which is so often the case with musicians. Specter At The Feast is the result of that process.
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Specter At The Feast (Ronald Says 6 out of 10)
Despite several quiet songs, don't expect a mostly sad record with grieving ballads. The album has been recorded in their familiar sound. Meaning, plenty of lazy rock 'n' roll songs drenched in the smell of gasoline and leather. Although this time with a more heavy feel. 'Let The Day Begin' is a The Call cover, the band old Been was part of in the eighties. This song also became the album's first single. And so, obviously, Been's soul is all around on this album, not just in the lyrics but also in feeling.
The record however isn't always equally strong and slows down in the middle. 'Some Kind Of Ghost' and 'Sometimes The Light' are almost sacred songs that take out a lot of the flow. It's understandable what the band is trying to say here, but it may not have been the best choice to put them back to back in the track list. And that's mostly the biggest problem here. Every time after a few up-tempo songs, a slow moment follows and it never really comes up to speed. Closer 'Lose Yourself' doesn't really end the album on a high either. Fortunately most of the quiet songs are pretty much okay and the faster ones like 'Hate The Taste' and 'Let The Day Begin' sound great.
Specter At The Feast didn't turn into the best record of the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club discography. It has too many weak spots although those can be explained by the collective trauma the threesome suffered. It does give enough hope for the future though, since it looks like they were able to come out of that dark place they were in. And I'm sure with in mind Michael Been can rest in peace.
This review has been published on ROAR E-Zine in Dutch over here.
Listen to Specter At The Feast on Spotify.
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