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Take Them On, On Your Own

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

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Album Review

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club made an impressive debut in 2001, taking both America and England by surprise while alternative metal ruled the charts. Their psychedelic/space rock/glam-colored blend was hungry to give rock a new face. Three years later and garage rock still reviving the late-'90s pop-soaked scene, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club aims to save a bit of rock & roll with its sophomore effort Take Them On, On Your Own. More gutsy, more aggressive, and more dynamic than B.R.M.C., Take Them On, On Your Own blazes on with an intoxicating presentation from the Brit-American collective; vocalist/bassist Robert Turner and guitarist/vocalist Peter Hayes boasted cocksure appeal on the last album, however Take Them On, On Your Own showcases drummer Nick Jago's powerful presentation, ultimately bringing the trio together. They're fearless and this dozen-track release is all swagger, emotive, and cool. Swanky guitar riffs and Turner's faltering drawl on "Stop" and "Six Barrel Shotgun" is classic BRMC. There's not a lot of sauntering like "Red Eyes & Tears" and "Spread Your Love" or snarly punk-tinged bits like "Whatever Happened to My Rock & Roll." The band gives the impression that the last album was lifeless, therefore, the split in song and craft on Take Them On, On Your Own isn't exactly a messy thing. There's more character to songs themselves and BRMC appears a touch more confident. From the acoustic ballad "And I'm Aching" to the post-punk fire of "U.S. Government" and "Rise or Fall," BRMC offers substance over shtick. Reworking some of rock & roll's natural components for their own brash arrangement highlights the band's overall brilliance. For only a second album, they've got the maturity that most young bands lack on a creative level. Such tenacity will carry them a long way.

Customer Reviews

One of their best!

This is a fantastic, and was sorely underrated at the time of it’s release. It’s sort of the flip side of their debut. Where B.R.M.C was filled with deep, dark, and lush sonic landscapes, this album is more aggressive and direct, and rocking. The sense of atmosphere and ambience is still present in many songs. We’re all in love and In like the rose are two of the best songs this band has ever made. Why this has a parental advisory sticker is frankly beyond me. This album reminds me a lot of their later album, ‘Beat the Devil’s tattoo’, but has more of a punk edge to it. Don’t underestimate the power of this album. All of their albums are pretty fantastic, and this is especially good.

With BRMC, it's either really good or bad

I agree that this album, and this band, is fairly under rated. You can find some good and raw early BRMC songs here. This album contains some sounds and vibes that are pretty unique in their catalog. I like the hint of Punk flavor in their sound that you can only really get on this album. It's less hard and less swampy than a lot of their other, and best, stuff, but there's also less of their weird and trancey Radiohead type stuff here too.

My main problem with this band is the same complaint that I have with every one of their albums. The band suffers from a split personality. Listening to their albums, you can't help but get the nagging feeling that something doesn't fit. There's a clear incongruity as they osscilate back and forth between inconsistent genres and sounds.

On the one hand, they sound like a cross between Spoon and The Black Keys (although they sound more like Spoon on this album). You get heavy doses of sensuality and incredibly solid instrumentals. They display a mastery over their isntruments even on this early album. Particularly the guitars. I love how fuzzy some of the songs get.

On the other hand, you get those weird trance-like songs that sound more like Radiohead which I was never a fan of. The vocals are particularly bad on these tracks and sound nothing like the vocals on the grittier and more rocking songs. My mind just trails off when these songs come on and makes it very difficult to listen to an album from start to end.

It's never a good idea to buy a whole BRMC album, because they're either good or bad and seldom in between. When they're good, they are near brilliant. For every album of theirs you'd buy, you're likely to get, on average, half keepers that are all highly rated and half that you can just trash because you wasted your money on them.

The stats on this one are pretty good by comparison to their others in terms of total number of keepers. There's five 4 star songs, six 3 star songs and the rest are throwaways.

BRMC

Love this album. Highly underrated band!

Biography

Formed: 1998 in San Francisco, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

The seed that became Black Rebel Motorcycle Club — or BRMC for short — was planted in 1995, when Robert Levon Been (aka Robert Turner) and Peter Hayes met while attending high school in San Francisco. The two formed a solid friendship and a shared camaraderie based on a mutual love of early-'90s U.K. bands like Ride, the Stone Roses, the Jesus and Mary Chain, and My Bloody Valentine. Despite such similar tastes, both joined different bands — Hayes spent time in the Brian Jonestown...
Full Bio
Take Them On, On Your Own, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club
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