Musings on music delivered when I dig myself out.

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club -- Take Them On, On Your Own
Virgin Records; 2003

Dear LiveJournal,

I know it's been a long time since I've written here and I'm soooo sorry. I SWEAR that wasn't looking into getting a blog -- they're so like, 2002.

Things have been going pretty well with school and I'm keeping busy by being a DJ at our radio station (yay!!) and, you know, homework *lol*. The coolest thing about the radio station is that I get to listen to all this awesome new music, and I even found my new favorite band: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (B.R.M.C. for short). They recently put out their sophomore album, Take Them On, On Your Own, and boy does it ever rock!

From the second I turned it on, I was pulled into "Stop," the album's opener; a tune tightly packed with layers of affected guitar and a thomping bassline. Vocalist Robert Turner's reverb-laden voice fits in nicely, closely matching the guitar tone.

The album continues with "Six Barrel Shotgun," a decidedly more aggressive track that attacks with snarling guitar from the get go. The driving bass and percussion make me want to hop in my Civic and just cruise into the sunset like a wicked car commercial. Do you think I write stuff like that on my Fender Squire? The song's bridge further accentuates how heavy the verses are by stripping down to whirring feedback, careless vocals and drummer Nick Jago's head-bopping drumbeats.

The fuzzy guitar lines and their complimentary bass parts don't let up from there. The choppy verses of "In Like the Rose" cause the tension to rise while the bass mockingly follows the vocals. "Ha Ha High Babe,"a song that would otherwise be as much a throw-away as my English 101 class (yuck!), is salvaged by turning the overdrive to 11 and droning away in a shoegaze fashion. I'm not sure what kind of shoes they wear, but my brand new Converse All-Stars rule.

Surprisingly, the two strongest songs off of Take Them On, On Your Own aren't even the liveliest. "And I'm Aching" delivers a true sense of emotion; a stark contrast from the brash attitude found on the rest of the album. Both Turner and bassist Peter Hayes contribute echo chamber vocals over a lightly strummed acoustic guitar to create an ethereal sound.

"Suddenly" is a slowburning number that capitalizes on the deliberate tempo by taking time to construct a haunting atmosphere for Turner's voice, in all its reverb-soaked glory. The guitar fuses with the bass as it worms its way under the whole mess, with angelic synths as the cherry on top.

However, it's only on these two tracks that B.R.M.C. shows their ability to break form. As enjoyable as it is to hear the sweet riffs they create, they become a bit tiresome after 12 tracks that are rarely under four minutes long.

My only other gripe with the album is its lyrics, which range from nonsensical to plain awkward. Don't get me wrong, they sound great when being sung, but don't convey much of a message or theme. "US Government," a tune that has opportunity to be a great social critique, gets tripped up in clumsy metaphors that read like my magnetic poetry.

Take Them On, On Your Own overall is an incredibly solid second album, defeating the much dreaded sophomore slump by a landslide. Utilizing powerful distorted licks, crafty basswork, and detached vocals, B.R.M.C. update the garage/shoegaze sound without sounding "retro;" a daunting task at times. With a bit of refinement of their lyrical skills, B.R.M.C. is poised to be a powerful player in the future of rock music.

Oh shoot, we're about to start our milk chugging competition. Later, Journal!

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