Album: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

Take Them On, On Your Own, Virgin
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For a few tracks, it seems as if this second offering from the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club is going to achieve the lift-off denied to the band's eponymous debut album. Then it all sags around the fourth song, "In Like the Rose", and never really recovers. The single "Stop" makes a fine opener, though, a big, lumbering 18-wheeler of a riff swathed in squalls of wah-wah guitar and brandishing its antipathy in lines such as "We don't like you, we just want to try you". "Six Barrel Shotgun" and "We're All in Love" follow with statements of outlaw attitude and aspiration respectively, though there's a puzzling disjunction between the urgency and questing spirit of the latter's lyric - "I'm looking for something to shout/ Something I know I cannot doubt" - and its dull, unadventurous music. From then on, it's downhill, through the tedious repetitions of "Ha Ha High Babe", the anti-establishment rant "US Government" and the maudlin acoustic lament "And I'm Aching". There are superficial similarities with The Raveonettes' rebel rock, which is also based on an extension of the Jesus & Mary Chain sound, but decent tunes are in short supply, as is any sense of irony or charm. Instead, we're left with sullen, monotonic riffing whose unvarnished drabness constitutes the misplaced badge of its integrity. Which seems odd for a band who claim "It's hard not to die when your time has been killed off". But not that hard, clearly.