Baby 81 (Sony BMG)
The third time 2005's rootsy Howl really was the charm for S.F. trio BRMC. Baby 81 takes those gospel-infected shuffles and merges them with Robert Been's churning basslines and drummer Nick Jago's furious percussion to create a streamlined squall doubling as a politicized epic. "I won't waste my love on a nation," sneers ever-cool guitarist Peter Hayes on anthemic first single "Weapon of Choice" before confessing he "wants to [insert primal fuck-me utterance here] somebody" during the equally thrusty "Berlin." Even the less concussive rockers Beatles-esque "Windows," desperate, psychedelic swirl of nine-minute-long "American X" are marked by a newfound urgency, with Hayes echoing Howl's hopeful emotional core while simultaneously venting his spleen via some of the the band's catchiest song craft since their 2001 debut. Whatever happened to BMRC's rock & roll? Sounds like they found it.
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