Distortion and attitude. Attitude and distortion. Black Rebel Motorcycle Club don't know much beyond these two rock 'n' roll tenants. And, frankly, they're not very interested in broadening their horizons anytime soon. On their first album, the trio got slagged for being too Jesus and Mary Chain with their overamped guitars and aggressive posturing. With Take Them On, On Your Own, BRMC risks being too much itself, echoing the assault of its almost monochromatic debut.
Further listening, however, reveals a wider scope and sharper design on Take Them On. Band leaders Peter Hayes and Robert Turner still have no time for garage-rock purists, but at least all the songs don't follow the same construction. Establishing and perfecting a formula, the band even tries its hand at a ballad of stark delight, "And I'm Aching."
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Ultimately, though, these guys are still pissed. But despite the layers of guitars and atmosphere swirling through these 12 tracks, the band's punky angst doesn't have much depth to it. Even if they're rebels with inarticulate causes, they infuse Take Them On with a galvanic spirit. Few contemporary bands better capture rock music's unapologetic emotional determination to live in the fiery present. They'll worry about the future (theirs and ours) when it gets here.