Black Rebel Motorcycle Club – Howl
Howl, BRMC’s third studio album, feels as at home in 1970 as it does today. The Laurel Canyon inspiration is front and center in this collection of 14 folk-leaning tracks that range from campfire acoustic jams to energetic electric numbers straight from the garage. As a trio they bring a bigger sound than one might imagine, incorporating delightful harmonies as well as artful reverb and vintage saturation to create a sound that feels rich even when the track is a simple guitar/harmonica/vocal number. Granted some of the tracks do include a little help from guest musicians, but a little help from some friends is sometimes just what is needed to push a song from “good” to “great,” and the whole of Howl definitely falls towards the latter.
I remember hearing the single Ain’t No Easy Way back in the day and thinking “Man, that song rocks harder than an acoustic track should!” The BRMC were mining a musical vein that I was just beginning to understand and appreciate, but the folk rock diamonds they were producing were eye-opening and prompted a deeper dive into their catalog as well as their influence’s music. Howl is a late sixties/early seventies revival album that holds its own with the best of them and is a must-hear for anyone who’s a fan of the sound of that golden folk rock era.