15 October 2007

Rock epic of the month: "Heart + Soul" (Black Rebel Motorcycle Club) 2003

Rock epics of the month is a series of posts where I'll look back on classic examples of what I think is the greatest excess of rock and roll - the rock epic.

Some of you might have noticed my last.fm widget that I'm now using to provide you with some audio entertainment at this blog. I like it, but occasionally, I can't get a tune I like onto the playlist.

This happens particularly with album tracks that were never released as singles.

This month, I will be looking at one of these. "Heart + Soul" came out as the closing track on the excellent second album by the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Take Them On, On Your Own, where it clocks in at 7:24.

BRMC main men Robert Levon Been, aka Robert Porter and Peter Hayes had impeccable rock credentials. Been was the son of Michael Been of 80s rockers The Call, but had adopted the surname Porter to avoid the legacy of his old man. He has since reverted back to Been.

Hayes, on the other hand, was a refugee from Anton Newcombe's dubious crackhouse of rock and roll casualties The Brian Jonestown Massacre.

Together with on-again-off-again drummer, Nick Jago, this band showed exactly why The Jesus And Mary Chain were so important to music. Actually, the BRMC were often criticised for their closeness in sound to this band, but I never believed this to be a bad thing.

There are really two major schools when it comes to rock epics. One is a suite of loosely (if that) connecting tunes tied together thematically, and the other is a song that builds and builds and builds to an almost sexual climax.

Heart + Soul is an excellent example of the latter school.

Opening with some nice harmonic guitar work it quickly crashes into the main riff. The verses are sparse, and there is a chorus with a fantastic vocal hook, which rings in the memory, "Save me!"

The middle of the song is where the feedback starts, and taking a lesson from their heroes, the JAMC, they just build on this to the end, speeding up in the process while Been hollers "Save me! Save me!" over and over before the song crashes in a mix of riffs, drum fills and feedback.


Anyway, I do hope that you enjoy this. This was recorded in Wolverhampton, England, and if you can ignore the fan singing along with the song, should be rewarded with some half-decent (for a bootleg) sound quality:

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