Howl (album)

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Studio album by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
Released August 22, 2005 (UK)
August 23, 2005 (U.S.)
September 21, 2005 (Japan)
Recorded 2005
Length 54:47
Label RCA
Echo (Europe)
Producer Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club chronology
Take Them On, On Your Own
Baby 81

Howl is a 2005 album by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. It is their third studio album and was released on August 22, 2005. The record was released in the UK and Europe by Echo and by RCA in the U.S. (distributed through RED Distribution), Australia, Japan and the rest of the world.

Howl infuses blues, country, and gospel throughout, stemming from their love of Americana less apparent in their 2001 and 2003 releases.

An extended version of the song "Howl" (which runs 6:12, as opposed to the 4:20 length of the album version) appears on the soundtrack to the 2007 film Southland Tales.

"Devil's Waitin'" was used in the 2012 Hell on Wheels (TV series) Season 2 finale episode "Blood Moon Rising". The opening track, "Shuffle Your Feet" is used in several points in David Simon's TV miniseries about Iraq, Generation Kill.

Initial versions of the CD released in the U.S. are copy controlled.

Critical reaction[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic (70/100)[1]
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[2]
Blender 2/5 stars[3]
Pitchfork Media (7.0/10)[4]
Rolling Stone 3/5 stars[5]
Spin 3/5 stars[6]

Many critics noted that Howl took a different direction from earlier BRMC releases.[1] Critics were generally polarised with the album.[3] While most agreed that their 2001 debut was the better of the first two records, and the follow-up had been rushed and lacklustre, opinion of the third offering was not so unified.[3] Many critics saw the album as an innovative departure from the band's homeground, and the record that affirmed them as the 'Kings of Cool' once again, while others professed the record dull, and a last minute attempt at restoring a flagging career by an album of acoustic tracks that should have ended up as b-sides.

The title of the record is a direct reference to Allen Ginsberg's poem "Howl".[7]

In a 2010 issue of NME dedicated to great 'lost' or 'cult' albums, Howl was selected by Guy Garvey of the band Elbow as his great 'lost' album.


Black Rebel Motorcycle Club had claimed that they signed to the Echo label in order to release more singles from their albums, having only been allowed to release two from their previous album, Take Them On, On Your Own. Despite this, their first single from Howl, album opener "Shuffle Your Feet", was a download-only single, therefore (at the time) not eligible to chart. Following this, they released "Ain't No Easy Way", the most recognizable and popular song from the record. Noticeably after this, the proposed third single from the album, "Weight of the World", never materialized, with only a limited number of copies surfacing, again non-chart eligible. Also notable is the lack of a single release for Robert's self-proclaimed best song "Promise", or Peter's live favorite "Devil's Waitin'".

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Shuffle Your Feet" – 2:53
  2. "Howl" – 4:20
  3. "Devil's Waitin'" – 3:50
  4. "Ain't No Easy Way" – 2:36
  5. "Still Suspicion Holds You Tight" – 4:24
  6. "Fault Line" – 2:57
  7. "Promise" – 4:46
  8. "Weight of the World" – 3:41
  9. "Restless Sinner" – 3:11
  10. "Gospel Song" – 4:31
  11. "Complicated Situation" – 2:37
  12. "Sympathetic Noose" – 4:17
  13. "The Line" (contains hidden track "Open Invitation" at 5:09) – 8:14

The Howl sessions EP[edit]

An additional six-song EP was released in 2006 featuring unreleased tracks from the Howl sessions:

  1. "Grind My Bones"
  2. "Mercy"
  3. "Wishing Well"
  4. "Steal a Ride"
  5. "Feel It Now"
  6. "Pretend"


  • "Shuffle Your Feet" (July 19, 2005) [download only]
  • "Ain't No Easy Way" (August 15, 2005)
    • b/w: "Still Suspicion Holds You Tight" / "Grind My Bones"
  • "Weight of The World" (October 18, 2005) [canceled as a commercial release]
    • b/w: "Mercy" / "Feel It Now"


  1. ^ a b "Howl - Black Rebel Motorcycle Club". Metacritic. Retrieved 31 August 2011. 
  2. ^ Sendra, Tim. "Howl: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club > Review" at AllMusic. Retrieved 31 August 2011.
  3. ^ a b c "Critic Reviews: Howl - Black Rebel Motorcycle Club". Metacritic. Retrieved 31 August 2011. 
  4. ^ Petrusich, Amanda (1 September 2005). "Black Rebel Motorcycle Club: Howl". Pitchfork Media. 
  5. ^ Hoard, Christian (25 August 2005). "Black Rebel Motorcycle Club: Howl". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 24 December 2007. 
  6. ^ Crain, Zac. "Black Rebel Motorcycle Club: 'Howl'". Spin. Retrieved 31 August 2011. 
  7. ^ "Howl: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club > Product Description". Retrieved 31 August 2011. Turner has said that Howl is intended as a tribute to the city's Beat generation.