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Review: Take Them On, On Your Own – Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club is like the Vin Diesel of band names. It’s like Motorhead, only better. Of course, having the Marlon Brando connection is always a plus in the cool depa

20 Apr, 2008

Arjun S Ravi

Editor

Take Them On, On Your Own - BRMCBlack Rebel Motorcycle Club is like the Vin Diesel of band names. It’s like Motorhead, only better. Of course, having the Marlon Brando connection is always a plus in the cool department. And apart from the machismo oozing nomenclature, they have the “I’m a shoegazer who gives a fuck” look to boot. It’s perfect, and just needs a little something in the music department to make the image permanent. Take Them On is just that.

If any piece of music reflected perfectly what BRMC is and should be, it’s the opening riff to the monster, exhaust fume inhaled, ‘Stop’. There’s always the fear with a band that’s ‘discovered’ a good riff that they’ll go on with it for far longer than necessary, but BRMC effectively evades this with the rhythm and drums crashing in at just the right moment.

Take The On is, in totality, a guitar heavy, riff laden, grungy-garage junkie of an album. BRMC effectively defined their sound on their self titled debut. And on this sophomore effort, they take this sound further. Case in point is ‘In Like The Rose’. After the rollercoaster of the first three songs, this is the ‘slower’ let up. It starts innocently enough with this cut-off riff that’s followed by their distinctive gain heavy bass. And just when you’re wondering whether this is it, they take it one step higher on the chorus. It’s The Strokes meets Oasis in absolutely the best possible way.

Unfortunately, unlike its predecessor, Take Them On isn’t as consistent as it should be/could have been. It has some glaring low points that seem as though they were thrown in just so that the band could laugh at us for beginning to think that this was the album of the year (the year being 2003). Add to that, they’ve gone political. Sure, it’s a year before Green Day, but it just doesn’t work with BRMC. Songs like ‘Generation’ (“I’m choosing sides, I’m keeping up with you and your invasion sides”) and ‘US Government’ (“We are the ones that keep you down, We are the ones that won the grounds”) though good pieces of music (God can this band come up with good riffs!) just don’t fit in with the BRMC scheme of things.

Fortunately, the band has also explored different ways to say what they want. ‘Shade of Blue’ flings slow bass and a magnificent melody together to create a brilliant ‘too much coffee’ piece that highlights the middle of this album beautifully. ‘Heart + Soul’ starts off with an opaque post-1967-Beatles-esque melody to launch into BRMC’s own brew of psychedelia – which is basically riff-laden grunge, but who cares when you’ve got a good pump.

Never ones to let a good riff go by, Take Them On is BRMC’s derision of everything and though it’s been done before, you shouldn’t mind doing it again with these LA boys.

Indiecision: A-

Visit Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.

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