BLACK TIME: More Songs about Motorcycles and Death: EP

Dec 28, 2010

Three strong records on In The Red, a slew of releases on various labels, a split LP with Ty Segall, and now Black Time’s back with a new one on Wrench Records out of London. As the title suggests, this six-song EP’s theme is built around motorcycles and doom. Like the bass lines on a late ‘50s rockabilly 45, lead singer/guitarist Lemmy Caution’s vocals occasionally lack definition because they’re so visceral. On other numbers, he comes through loud and clear, like on the group’s cover of Serge Gainsbourg’s (with Brigitte Bardot) “Harley Davidson,” completely refashioned in the Black Time mold. Musically, this is the Black Time you hopefully know and love—Crime-style distortion coupled with Ventures-inspired guitar leads and primal drumming. The originals are compelling enough, but it’s the Gainsbourg cover that’s hitting me. Reason is simple enough: it’s the coupling of Lemmy with female backing vocalists. Caution used to do this with Janie Too Bad; this go around it’s with Cecile and Vinciane. Two extremes at once really add stability to my life, whether it’s the Reid brothers singing over pure noise or Syd Barrett spouting madness over sparse acoustic recordings. Like Ritalin or coffee, peace of mind comes with overstimulation and Black Time plays with extremes very well. (The opposite is also true—listen to “Porpoise Song” by the Monkees eight times in a row, a beautiful Goffin-King composition.) This album is an absolute burner and should be listened to over and over again, preferably in the morning with a large cup of coffee and sunglasses on. (Note to Monsieur Caution: Where’s your cover of “Yum Yum Yamaha” by Carol Connors? Maybe next time…)

 –ryan (Wrench)

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