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Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Take Them On, On Your Own


Review: Jack Foley

BLACK Rebel Motorcycle Club's new album claims to be about everything from death, guns, drugs and religion, to family, politics, music and sex - so what else is new?

In a world seen by many as being dictated by US foreign policy, there is plenty to be angry about; to protest against; and to be rebellious over.

Everyone from One Minute Silence and Blur, to DM and Jemini and Asian Dub Foundation seems to have something to say at the moment - the important thing is how you say it.

For as BRMC singer, Peter Hayes, notes: "The whole fucking point of art is to question what’s going on. That’s art’s purpose and artists have every right in the world to do that."

BRMC have long considered themselves to be the outsiders, and the follow-up album to their critically-acclaimed, self-titled debut, continues the trend.

It is an angry album, but also an intensely personal one. Yes, it contains social and political commentary, but it also contains moments of personal reflection, of looking in on one's own world, as well as out at another person's.

And it's a mightily impressive album to boot.

The feeling of rebellion is best summed up in the track, Generation, in which the wailing guitars are in overdrive, and Hayes' declares that he has nowhere to go with this generation, before spewing contemptuous lines such as 'I'm keeping up with you and your invasion eyes, you got the world in a coma'.

The vitriol is even more direct in US Government, which begins with the lyrics 'I spit my faith on the city pavement, to keep a smile, I bought my legs from the US government to keep me in line'.

And yet, somehow, the lyrics seem justified, perhaps because you sense that the band really believe in them, rather than singing them to get noticed. It is part of the BRMC ethos. They genuinely are outsiders, but wouldn't have it any other way.

In short, they are true rock 'n' roll rebels who, importantly, know how to rock.

Take the sweeping first track, and first single, Stop, with its distorted guitars and take no prisoners approach - which encompasses the BRMC sound, while also feeling as though it has benefited from the time spent with the likes of Oasis on the road.

Similarly, We're All In Love, which harks back to the Seventies rock of T-Rex, the Sex Pistols, or, more latterly, The Jesus and Mary Chain - the influences are distinct, yet never ripped off.

And then there's the quieter, more reflective moments, usually confined to one track on most other rock out albums.

Shade of Blue, especially, is an achingly personal record about a lost relationship, and a tough decision, screaming out with the muted pain and frustration of a desperate situation; while the acoustic And I'm Aching, is a terrific time out, about the pain of being in love.

Both tracks serve to provide BRMC with a personal side, and one which the listener can identify with, even if they disagree with the sentiments that have gone before.

Take Them On, On Your Own is a ballsy record from start to finish, with very few low points. The NME has already hailed it as a rock masterpiece and it is easy to see why.

Anyone who thought BRMC was a one-trick pony had better think again, for this merely cements their reputation as a band to watch, who could well be around for a very long time. Here's hoping they continue to take them on, on their own.

 

Track listing:
1. Stop
2. Six Barrel Shotgun
3. We're All In Love
4. In Like The Rose
5. Ha Ha High Babe
6. Generation
7. Shade Of Blue
8. Us Government
9. And I'm Aching
10. Suddenly
11. Rise Or Fall
12. Going Under
13. Heart + Soul

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