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31
4.5 out of 5 stars
Baby 81
Format: Audio CDChange
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 7 May 2007
I consider myself a big fan of BRMC, yet have to admit, they've never really produced a truly consistent album. All three previous albums have had song fantastic highlights, and are solid, good albums, but they're not perfect. Too many religious references on HOWL, a few too many aimless songs on Take Them On.. and a couple that didn't really stand out their debut.

So, where's that leave Baby 81? Well, from the first complete start to finish listen, it's obvious that this is the Rebels at their best. Before I bought this album, I scouted out a few songs, Weapon of Choice (awesome acoustic/electric guitar mix, similar in style to 'Whatever Happened', with some fantastic political lyrics - 'i won't waste my love on a nation'). Then there's Berlin and Need Some Air, two fast paced rock and roll songs, really upping the ante. Lien On Your Dreams too, with it's fantastic beats and playful vocals make them worth the album price alone, and i wasn't worried about wasting any cash.

However, the rest of the album, is also fantastic. Zeppelin style drums on 666 Conducer, blues rock, unexepcted structure of Took Out A Loan, piano driven Windows and the amazing 'Killing The Light' being extra highlights.

This album is varied in length (Weapon of Choice is under three minutes, American X is over nine), structure (from the standard rock of Berlin to the extended organ intro of All You Do Is Talk), pace, style, atmosphere and feel. Some critics have argued that it runs out of steam; it certainly changes pace after the furious Need Some Air, Lien on Your Dreams and massive Killing The Light, but this isn't that bad a thing. The long guitar break in American X suits its content and style, and the acoustic led Am I Only is a nice finish. The only track I'm not convinced about is Not What You Wanted, with it's guitar and vocal patterns,weirdly reminding me of Grandaddy, and feeling a bit filler.

Overall, this is a fantastic album, a real step forward for the band. They've dug deep and produced a solid, and this time, fantastic, album.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 1 May 2007
Not going to ramble on, just wanted to say that this piece of work, in my humble opinion, is their VERY BEST album to date.

Rocking, sensitive, rolling and loud. Has it all.

Well played fella's.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 9 October 2007
I went about getting into BRMC the wrong way around. After hearing "Weapon of Choice" on MTV2 I had to check them out, so I bought Baby 81 that very day.

I then got Howl (which is excellent by the way) and the debut album.

I haven't got round to the 2nd album yet but ive heard "Stop" which is fantastic.

This for me is the best of the lot.

First Track "Took out a loan" is a grinding guitar heavy track, cool as you like, it starts the album off very well. Then comes 2nd single "Berlin", a bit more poppy than track 1 but never the less catchy and very worthy of a single release.
"Weapon of Choice" is just majestic, a thumping 3 minute anthem which i challenge anyone to dislike. "Windows" is something different altogether, piano driven and kind of ballady it brings the pace of the album down a bit after the frantic opening, it nevertheless a brilliant track.
"Cold Wind" them brings the temperature up again, at 1st i wasn't so sure about this track, but now I'm hooked. This is followed by 2 accoustic numbers, the breezy "Not what you wanted" and "666 Conducer", both important to the album in their own right.
So 7 killer tracks out of 7, perfect so far. After this "Lien on your dreams" and "Am I only" are highlights, but the epic "I am the resurrection" esque "American X" steals the album, it's one of them tracks when you hear it for the 1st time you just have to repeat it because you know its that good.

Overall this is almost as perfect an Indie album that you will see this year, if you liked the best parts of BRMC and Howl and combine them, this is kind of what you get. I just hope they do another one.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 25 August 2007
The best thing about the release of "Baby 81" is that that the correct answer now to the trivia question "what was Black Rebel Motorcycle Club's third album" is "who cares?" (Not that it was a total howler of a record of course...)

- A bold statement, amigo, so back it up.

My pleasure... Driving guitars and thumping drums. Lyrics sung with a snarl. Tales of uncertain love. An album of smooth consistency, despite each track being readily distinguishable. Anthems to beat the band.

- Okay, honcho, this does sound like BRMC back on form.

You better believe it. After a promising opening number in "Took Out A Loan", we are straight into one of the best tracks on the album in "Berlin", which hits all the classic BRMC characteristics described above. Moreover, it's a lung-burster to sing along to live. With barely pause for breath, "Weapon of Choice" is in a similar mould and contains the controversial line for an American band of "I won't waste my love on a nation".

"Windows" is a change of pace, but touches on the BRMC obsession with uncertainty over what love is ("So how's it going to feel / When you don't know what's real / You tell yourself its love / Then tear your insides up"). "Cold Wind" takes a different perspective and seems to sing about someone who has been in so many relationships ("I've been here a thousand times I know") that he is no longer sure that he can love at all ("There's nothing left of this / They steal your innocence"). It has a very Stone Roses-sounding ending. "Not What You Wanted" then sings of repressed emotions, while "666 Conducer" is a tale of vulnerability and exploitation.

A little out of place, then, in terms of how it sounds is "All You Do Is Talk", which could easily have The Edge (circa 1987) guesting on lead and Bono then sneaking in, at some stage, to do the vocals. If it is intended as a single, then this could well be a mainstream commercial success for the band.

Not that they are done there and then. "Lien on Your Dreams", "Need Some Air" and "Killing the Light" are all fine tracks that get back to the snarl, drive, and thump, before the 9-minute epic "American X" is revealed - a fine but harsh song about the modern American spirit ("your open arms / they only seem to surrender / all that matters"). Evocative of The Doors at times, it feels a fraction of its length and leaves any number of similar criticisms of contemporary America floundering in its wake. There is then the dignified and poignant ending in "Am I Only".

If there is a criticism of this album, the lyrics are not always the smartest (e.g. "666 Conducer"). However, having seen this album played live, that criticism seems a little churlish. The words to these songs are utterly invigorating just to simply belt out.

In all, so, a tremendous back-to-basics record of booming sound, instantly memorable lines, and unashamedly leather-clad and shades-wearing rock music.

- Hasta la revolucion so, compadre?

You know you want to.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 3 July 2007
I have been following BRMC from the start. I admire them for their diversity and their distinctly different albums. So often in this day and age bands churn out music to the same formula not varying their output (e.g. Kaiser Chiefs, Muse, Stereophonics etc.). BRMC have released an absolute classic this time round. Not one bad track - with 'American X' being the truly outstanding track - in my opinion. Over 9 minutes of deep dark rock with an instrumental section that closely rivals Stone Roses 'I am the Resurrection'. Enjoy!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 27 May 2007
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club have taken five years to reach this, the pinnacle of their recording career so far, a rich,balanced collection of tunes with light and shade,melodies and real depth.

Back in 2005 "Howl" was an interesting departure from heavier earlier albums but they have managed to blend the acoustic fervour of that effort with the heavier style of "Baby 81".

The general feel is dark and claustrophobic but there is a lighter feel to the vocals and variety in the songs, the chugging blues of the earlier years has been fused with folk and gospel elements,although on "American X",the guys steam through nine minutes of pure BRMC old-school class.

Reviews have been mixed in the music press and I fully expected to be disapointed and fustrated but instead this album grows and grows with its passion and charm. There is intelligence behind the moody fringes and monochrome CD sleeve...easily one of the best of the very promising 2007 new music releases!.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 11 August 2007
I've been following the BRMC from the start, and they are one of my favourite bands to have appeared in the last few years. That said the first two albums had a mix of some outstanding tracks coupled with some fairly mediocre stuff. The thing that sets them apart is that their outstanding stuff is truly outstanding. I'm going to discount 2005's Howl which was a departure into something completely different and not my cup of tea at all. So here we are with their 4th studio album Baby 81, and this is where it all comes together. 14 top quality tracks which really deliver the goods. "All you do is talk", "Took out a loan", "Berlin", "Weapon of choice", "Need some air", "American X", "Cold wind", "Not what you wanted", "Am I only" are all superb. And the rest don't disappoint either.

If you buy this album you won't be disappointed.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
On first listen Baby 81 seems nothing remarkable, just a collection of BRMC standards. However, after 4 or 5 listens the songs really start to get into your head and how. The first half features some of the best songs that they've ever made and the second half shows a new and exciting willingness to experiment which suggests a bright future for BRMC. Baby 81 takes the best bits from the first two albums and mixes it with some of the gospel blues found on Howl and the end result is BRMC's best album to date. Disappointly in some respects, casual listeners will probably not give the album more than a single listen and its unlikely to draw many new fans, but for those of us who've been there with them for a while then BRMC have really delivered on Baby 81. Brilliant!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 6 August 2007
Alternative, Rock or what you want to call it, the San Francisco trio doesn't dissapoint with this album, still with its various influences from rock to dark, maybe also there is a reminiscence of Nirvana somwehere. Tracks to watch out for are 'Cold wind' and 'Am I only'
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 22 September 2007
compared to their other albums this one is on a different plane alltogether. it is the definition of rock and blues rock. cannot suggest a better buy for the genre, thanks brmc!
highlights include - windows - a mellow track compared to the others but fits in perfectly, 666 conducer which has such a deep driving backbone which is great for nodding to. American x which is a powerful song. period.
All of the tracks are brilliant, cant find a fault
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