Take Them On, On Your Own
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Take Them On, On Your Own [Explicit]
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BLACK REBEL MOTORCYCLE CLUB Take Them On On Your Own (2003 UK 13-track CD album featuring the singles Stop and Were All In Love fold-out lyric booklet picture sleeve)
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
Top customer reviews
No? Ok then, this album is like Iggy's Raw Power for the 21st century, in that it radiates nothing but raw power. It's loud, aggressive and very, very dangerous, like befriending a Hell's Angel.
The wonderful walls of feedback that made the eponymous debut such a pleasurable listening experience such a pleasent listen are gone, replaced with a more searing, crunchy guitar sound. You can't really air guitar to it, but still, it's immense, it's ear bleeding and benefits from top volume playing. Every single track feels like chewing on an adrenaline gland. Even the acoustic "And I'm Aching" evokes imagery of sitting 'round a campfire in the heart of a desert, sleeping with a shotgun to ward off bandits and rattle snakes.
It may be political (Song titles like "Kill The US Government", lyrics like "I'm sick and tired of this generation"), but it provides a soundtrack that is escapist in its purest form. Makes you feel rebellious. part of a gang, new in town and up to no good, strolling into a saloon and everyone puts their glasses down and glowers at you (the pianist hits a minor key). Love it to pieces.
There is simply no hold-up as the raging fire set alight on the first LP is inflamed further as BRMC add a quart of paraffin to the mix.
"Stop" surges in the same vein as past records surged, "Six Barrel Shotgun" taps into your adrenalin supply and presses the 'GO!' button and you're left salivating for it to continue. It does, relentlessly!
BRMC are a sensationally gifted American band and like that other great US outfit, Queens of the Stone Age, they combine a deeply dark side with melody that oozes subversion and rebellion with a knowing cool that you crave for in any real rock band.
Other standouts include "Generation" and "Shade of Blue" which stick to the formula of the first album using ascending chord progressions that fill your ears with a beautifully warm, rustic, fuzzy sound as they cascade around your mind.
Lyrically, BRMC have a little to say regarding the state of the world but with a sonic background so powerful you can simply allow yourself to be taken away by the thick, decadent layers of guitar heaven.
Buy this record.
The only thing stopping this album from being a great one is the fact that it doesn't quite maintain the quality hinted at in the first four tracks. However, after a dip in the middle there are 3 crackers to finish, especially 'Rise or Fall', with the memorable lines "Mothers teach you to crawl, Fathers teach you to rise and fall".
I expect some journalists to get terribly excited about the US government references and start hailing them as the political saviours of rock'n'roll...the (annoying!) idea that bands only mean anything if they have something to say. Its not a political record, just a very promising rock album and only a few tunes short of an excellent one. BRMC are one of the better bands of the new crop, keep an eye on them, these guys have potential.
The swaggering opener "Stop", the urgent "Six Barrel Shotgun", the stunning "In Like a Rose", the quality never lets up. It may not sound particularly original, at worst vaguely familiar ("Six Barrel" is blatantly "Punk Song" as many have noted before) but when it rocks this hard, it's hard to dock one star for such a feeble reason. I buy albums to listen to and enjoy, not play spot-the-similarities with.
As individual entities, the songs are brilliant. As a whole, the album flows effortlessly from one track to the next. The best example of this is a hook from "Stop" that is then used to kick off "Six Barrel Shotgun". Nothing wrong with that sort of recycling when it's used to good effect!
So, in summary: good band. Good disc... it'll knock you off your chair. Get it.
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