Well this album came out of nowhere, musically and otherwise. On October 27, 2008 Black Rebel Motorcycle Club announced via their Myspace blog that they were going to release their latest LP: ‘The Effects of 333′ – a completely instrumental album available via digital download independent of any record company. So being a big BRMC fan I put on my black shirt, leather jacket and jeans, paid $6 expecting a mind blowing follow up to last years Baby 81, the result however was something completely different…
With their first 2 length albums BRMC has been known as a slower paced psychedelic rock reminiscent of bands like The Jesus and Mary Chain. In 2005 with the release of ‘Howl’ they changed direction to a slightly more bluesy folk rock. I was disappointed at the time as I was anticipating another rocking romp through psychedelic pastures, but after giving Howl a few listens I embraced their bluesy ways and added it to the regular rotation. 2007′s Baby 81 felt like a culmination of all their material to date.
Before listening to BRMC I was never appreciative of bands experimenting with their sound. I’m a fan of a band because they have a specific sound so if they change it up drastically I tend to lose all interest. I’ve since learned to give musicians the benefit of the doubt as ‘Howl’ showed me that if a band is passionate enough about something the end result is usually ear pleasing (Paul Weller is another perfect example). But after listening to ‘The Effects of 333′ however, I’m almost at a loss for words. When BRMC wrote that this album would be both ambient and instrumental I thought okay, it’ll be another bluesy psych rock album with no vocals. I’m down with that. Although their description of the album is accurate, it was not what I was expecting. Out of the 10 tracks on TEO333, only 2 could be considered instrumental with just guitars strumming haunting chords, while the rest are just noise, albeit ambient…in a Halloween soundtrack you play on your front porch to scare the kids kind of way. Being experimental is one of the reasons why BRMC is one of my favorite bands, but with such a drastic change in sound on TEO333, it makes me wonder what direction they’re headed.
Here’s what the band has written about the album:
We are proud to announce our first release independent of any record company. As our first release through our Abstract Dragon label, this record is exactly that – no apologies, no lyrics, no regrets, just abstract. This has been in the works for the last 3 years at least, on and off the road, in hotel rooms, bus bunks, and back stage.
I really don’t know how to rate this album. It may be good for people who are into this kind of music and I’m sure there’s some kind of theme they’re going for here, but if you’re a fan of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, don’t consider The Effects of 333 to be a proper follow-up to Baby 81.
You can purchase The Effects of 333 here. And if you do, we’re interested (as always) in hearing your thoughts.