Now, while The Decemberists have taken a more subtle approach on their sophomore disc, the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club have opted for the exact opposite tack. While their basic formula has remained untouched — straight-up, massively overdriven rock n’ roll à la The Jesus and Mary Chain — the production has stripped away a layer or two of the gauzy feedback that draped their debut, giving the sophomore effort a bit more of an initial punch. And it works.
Take Them On, On Your Own is a much more in your face effort than the debut, a pounding summertime road trip record that just begs to be popped in the car stereo and played very, very loud. There’s a swagger in the band’s step here, a sneer on their face, and they’ve got the goods to back it up.
The downside to this more straightforward approach is that a good chunk of the first record’s appeal came from working your way through all of those layers of noise to find what lay beneath. While the first record was one that you had to build a bit of relationship with — it both demanded and rewarded time and effort — this one wears everything on the surface. What you gain in immediate access you lose in that sense of exploration and discovery. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing — everybody needs to just turn the stereo up and rock out from time to time — but it does require a bit of an adjustment.
Written by Chris Brown.
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I've also written for Christ and Pop Culture, ScreenAnarchy, Filmwell, and Christian Research Journal. I pay the bills by creating beautiful user interfaces and websites for Firespring and Red Bicycle.