We rely on Black Rebel Motorcycle Club for pervasive distortion, a drone buzzing with feedback and dirt. But on the Cali trio's third long-player, that entire train of thought has disappeared, replaced with a folksy blues sound packed with gospel undertones and country tendencies. Seriously. Initially, it's an ugly shock, but after awhile the purity sinks in: On such tunes as "Ain't No Easy Way" and "Weight of the World," there's an honesty in frontman Peter Hayes' straight, undistorted delivery that says far more than any of the Club's crackling feedback ever did. Relying on acoustic guitars, the occasional harmonica, and simpler lyrical messages, Howl somehow ends up far deeper than its predecessors.
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