My knowledge of Belgian music is pretty limited. I think that Jean Claude Van Damme may have hummed a few bars of something in Bloodsport, but that’s about it. So when I was sent a record by Black Box Revelation, a garage rock duo out of Brussels, I had some questions (like do they have muscles?) After a couple minutes all of my queries were answered.
The first couple tracks, “High On A Wire” and “My Perception” remind me a lot of that super bluesy Oasis album Don’t Believe The Truth. This is particularly true of the former song. Jan Paternoster’s guitar and vocals are raw and the duo adds some sonic production elements that really add some complexity to an otherwise straightforward blues rock tune.
Black Box Revelation formed in 2005, which pretty much lines up with the boon of garage rock duos popularity here in the states. They’ve put out two other full-length albums, while My Perception was released late last year in Europe. They recorded it, at least partially, in LA with former-Queens of the Stone Age member Alain Johannes.
In the most basic of terms they are the European version of The Black Keys. Except I prefer BBR to Black Keys any day of the week. While Patrick Carney and Dan Auerbach have come a long way with their brand of fuzzy guitar and louder-than-necessary drums, I’ve always had the feeling that they are more interested in being cool than making music universally enjoyable. BBR brings a pop sensibility that The Black Keys lack, and they’re the better band for it.
Throughout the album you pick up some of BBR’s influences, everything from George Thurgood and The Destroyers to The Rolling Stones and The Kinks. On “Good Swimmer” you can tell they’ve studied the blues from its days in the Mississippi delta all the way up to today, and are looking for ways to preserve it for the future.
The complaints are few and far between for me on My Perception. A lot of it sounds very similar, which is good and bad. It’s never boring, but there are times when I was hoping they’d switch it up a little. One problem with the garage rock duo format is that there is a limit to what you can do. That said, Paternoster and Dries Van Dijck make the most of it.
My Perception is due out June 13th in the states. Black Box Revelation is going to be here in Chicago tomorrow night, May 30th, at Double Door before they head out to Manchester, TN for two performances at Bonnaroo followed by an appearance on The Late Show With David Letterman.