Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

B.R.M.C. (Virgin ‘2000) Rating: B+

Often compared to the Jesus and Mary Chain and The Velvet Underground (due to loud, distorted guitars), as well as British bands such as Spiritualized and The Verve (due to their at times dreamy, psychedelic guitar swirl), Black Rebel Motorcycle Club also have much in common with The Dandy Warhols in the way they both take other band’s classic styles and put their own spins on them. Named after a motorcycle gang in the Marlon Brando movie The Wild One, on their debut album Black Rebel Motorcycle Club deliver gothic, glammy choruses (“Love Burns”), edgy fast-paced garage rockers (“Whatever Happened to My Rock 'n’ Roll (Punk Song),” throbbing groovers (“Red Eyes and Tears,” “White Palms”), dreamy and dramatic slower numbers (“Awake,” “Too Real”), and loud Nuggets-styled stompers (“Spread Your Love”) with equal ease. The end result is consistently enjoyable if rarely rarified, and the fact that the band’s modern update of such well-worn styles seems so fresh in 2001 is a damning condemnation of their competition. Or maybe it’s simply a reflection of the band’s considerable skill at setting atmospheric moods without forgetting to “bring the rock” (to not quite accurately quote The Dandy Warhols’ Courtney Taylor Taylor). Truth is, we need more real rock ‘n roll bands like these guys, and though some overly laid-back vocals and a certain sameness brings this album down a few notches (again we’re talking very good rather than great), I was glad to see it (along with other superior throwbacks like The Strokes and The White Stripes) gain some deserved attention and acclaim.

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