Speedball, the fatal combination of cocaine and heroin, is not only the powerful mixture of illegal narcotics that killed John Belushi and River Phoenix, its also the best adjective to describe the fourth album from San Francisco’s Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. Baby 81 hums like a neon jackrabbit racing to break the sound barrier, only to crash out on a bed of silk for a soothing afternoon siesta.
From the initial shock of “Take Out A Loan,” the gritty and mean blues riffs tackle like a Dick Butkus grid iron smash. The fuzz train chugs along three nasty miles of scuzz, only to hang on for another solid minute of hysterical guitars, that I heard were once tuned by Thurston Moore. La di frickin dah.
“Berlin” is another murky blast of Viagra rock fully capable of making any cock hard. “Weapon Of Choice” offers a blistering chop of acoustic whips that explode into a scathing riot of politically charged excitement. Surprising pianos open up “Window,” a six minute look into a deep valley of mellow keys and sultry shakers that wind and turn like the dreamiest Blur or Pulp tune, for a soundtrack that a dim junkie might tie a belt around.
The frigid guitars on “Need Some Air” are licked crisply, igniting a rambunctious ball of flame that spurts out wild and hot. “American X” is a nine minute excuse for noise that will undoubtedly impress the stoners at the live shows, but honestly, did we need to roll that much tape during the studio session? Was the engineer nodding off or simply unable to function under the heavy weight of an expensive leather jacket?
Peter Hayes has been Peyote tripping with Jim Morrison and hairspraying with Jim Reid, as hints of The Doors or JAMC are spread like a wonderful noise disease throughout Baby 81. The wayward youths should be ecstatic to have their bassist Nick Yago? back in the mix. The druggo kiddo not only walked out on the band but also on yours true during an interview after the release of their self titled album, when I asked if the gangly baby faced 4-stringer had even graduated high school.
Baby 81, with its dumb title, is like the girlfriend that you really enjoy having sloppy, under the radar sex with, but if you have to hear her speak one more time, you’ll seriously kick her tush with a size 13 boot. Some of the songs linger like that skanky girlfriend I really enjoy having nasty, unprotected sex with, when I really just want her to take her gallons of make up and hit the bricks.
These gorgeous yet repetitive tunes bored as much as they captivated, like smacking a wall after eclipsing the greatest high money can buy. Trust, I’ll poke Baby 81 over any of the insufficient garbage that constantly clog my valuable ears, no doubt. I’m just not as head over heels with this sultry wildcat as I was when the San Fran treats gave me red eyes and tears.
“Weapon Of Choice”