September 11, 2003

Test Spin: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

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Instead of discussing what the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club’s sophomore LP Take Them On, On Your Own sounds like, perhaps it might be more advantageous to talk about what the disc doesn’t sound like. Sure, one could go on about its gritty, Oasis inspired soaring melodies or its American indie-rock mannerisms, but that has all been said and done.

For those of you new to the B.R.M.C., the band’s sound is not that of a posse of rebel motorcyclists. And although the album offers a multitude of angst-ridden heavy rock songs, the music is of a much more intelligent sort than would otherwise be listened to by Harley-Davidson riders.

The band’s lyrics are more impressive upon first listen than they actually reveal themselves to be after successive spins. With lines like “Try keep your head up high/ Time burns so deep inside you/ Rips your throat out” from the disc’s opener “Stop,” it is clear that these aren’t the lyrics of Interpol or Radiohead. Even the liner notes try to make the band appear more literate and poetic than they actually are, written in a dense Arial that screams unneeded pretense.

In short, the disc does not present a large departure from the trio’s debut album, and is filled with the almost monotonous spitting off of rapid-fire anthems like “We’re All in Love,” “Generation,” and “Suddenly”; the largest deviant from that mold being the almost out-of-place ballad, “And I’m Aching,” which simply appears to be a cookie-cutter attempt to change the album’s pace.

Archived article by Mathew Nagowski