Release date: August 25, 2003

User Review
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In many ways, the year 2001 saw the resurrection of classic rock ‘n’ roll in the shape of bands like The Strokes and The White Stripes. However, while those two acts quickly rose to fame and notoriety, hailed by critics as no less than the saviors of rock as well as its future (we’ve heard that one a few times before, haven’t we?), California-based Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (BRMC) remained somewhat of a dark horse on the fringes of this revitalized rock scene. Still, their self-titled debut caught the attention of quite a few people on the basis of strong singles like “Whatever Happened To My Rock ‘n’ Roll” and “Love Burns,” making it a tough act to follow. Now they’re back with the difficult second album, cryptically titled Take Them On, On Your Own.

You got to hand these three guys a certain amount of coolness. After finding out shortly after forming in 1998 that their original name Elements was taken by a host of other bands, they decided to go with Black Rebel Motorcycle Club instead, drawing inspiration from the film “The Wild One” starring icon Marlon Brando as the leader of a reckless biker gang, fittingly named Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. From there on things started to gain momentum, and their career was no doubt given a helping hand by Noel Gallagher’s claim that they were his favorite new band. Their debut album hit the stores in 2001 and showed glimpses of greatness, representing an attractive blend of the ’60s alternative rock scene (Velvet Underground) and ’70s glam (T-Rex).

Take Them On, On Your Own is a superior album to its predecessor, although this is hardly evident upon the first couple of listens. It seems to lack the killer tracks of the first record, but don’t let that put you off. Take Them On, On Your Own works as a coherent album whereas the uneven “BRMC” had its ups and downs. It’s obvious that the band has matured, resulting in more complex song structures and thoughtful lyrics. Never a cheerful bunch, their new effort is by many means an even darker affair compared to the first outing, albeit never without elements of hope. “You got it bad nothing can save you”, states the bleak lyric on “Six Barrel Shotgun”, only to be followed by mellower words like “we’re all in love with something that we can’t see” on “We’re All In Love”.

The album starts of with three fast-paced rockers, among them first single “Stop” and aforementioned “Six Barrel Shotgun” which frankly comes across as a remake of “Whatever Happened To My Rock ‘n’ Roll”. Unlike many other records, however, the best tracks are to be found in the middle section. “In Like The Rose”, “Generation”, the epic “Shade of Blue” and the acoustic “And I’m Aching” are all brilliant, the latter two sounding very much like Velvet Underground would have if they were still around. Also worth of notice is “Rise Or Fall” with its clever chorus that goes “mothers teach you to crawl, fathers teach you to rise or fall”. How true it is. It should thus come as no surprise that I highly recommend Take Them On, On Your Own – it’s the perfect soundtrack to chilly autumn nights. Hopefully, BRMC will now get the recognition they thoroughly deserve.

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