Howl (album)

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Brmc howl.jpg
Studio album by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
Released August 22, 2005 (UK)
August 23, 2005 (U.S.)
September 21, 2005 (Japan)
Recorded 2005
Genre Americana, alternative rock, garage rock
Length 54:47
Label RCA, Echo (Europe)
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club chronology
Take Them On, On Your Own
Baby 81
Singles from Howl
  1. "Shuffle Your Feet"
    Released: July 19, 2005
  2. "Ain't No Easy Way"
    Released: August 15, 2005
  3. "Weight of The World"
    Released: October 18, 2005

Howl is the third studio album by American rock band Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. It 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 reception[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.

Track listing[edit]

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


  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.