More poised and less self-conscious after two years of continuous touring, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club have taken a huge artistic leap forward with their second album Take Them On, on Your Own
, stripping away much of the florid guitar work and anxious drumming featured on their self-titled debut
and replacing it with a sleeker sound.
On their previous album you could barely make out their enigmatic and half-formed lyrics buried underneath the feedback and thick psychedelic swirls, but they've fixed all that and have turned out a collection of tetchy but intelligent post-modern protest songs that are a huge departure from their earlier compositions about the capricious nature of love. Titles such as "Stop", "Six Barrel Shotgun" and "(Kill the) US Government" crackle with anger and confrontation, much like MC5's "Kick Out the Jams" was to earlier generations. No longer sounding like Jesus & Mary Chain retreads, BRMC has carved out their own niche by combining dark poetry with a sharp disgust with the way the world is being run. --Jaan Uhelszki