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


Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

Album: Take Them On, On Your Own
Label: Virgin

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At first leather-clad blush, fans of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club's 2000 debut B.R.M.C. might hear something suspiciously familiar in Take Them On, On Your Own, a follow-up with a taste markedly similar to the original. Of course, listeners heard something they'd heard before on B.R.M.C., too: resounding echoes of '80s British psych-pop-drone purveyor The Jesus And Mary Chain, a band whose influence was strong enough to inspire the nickname Black Rebel Mary Chain. But a more studied listen to Take Them On reveals an expansive array of grays: The JAMC still haunts the hall, but its influence becomes diluted as BRMC stretches, however slightly, outside its own boundaries. More varied and satisfying than its predecessor, Take Them On still lacks a song as blatantly hook-heavy as the group's first-album almost-hits "Whatever Happened To My Rock 'N' Roll (Punk Song)" and "Spread Your Love." But the BRMC-by-numbers numbers on Take Them On hit almost as hard, anyway. "Stop," with its snottily detached tag "We don't like you / We just want to try you," ought to inspire plenty of greasy hair and chain smoking, while "Six Barrel Shotgun" thrashes in the best spirit of The Stooges. Another 60 minutes of those would have been treadmill-dull, but slowing down seems to work, too: "Shade Of Blue" swirls slowly into Spacemen 3 territory, while the pretty "And I'm Aching" drops almost all the layers, relying solely on acoustic guitar and a lonely voice. It's almost poignantly out of place, and by moving out of the band's comfort drone, it elevates what could have been a replica into a solid, if not immediately obvious, step forward.