'Bout time an American band stepped up to the plate!
Michael Paulsen | Rancho Santa Margarita, CA USA | 04/30/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Black Rebel Motorcycle Club being touted as "britpop wannabies"? Well, yes, America could use a band that rises above the cookie-cutter Blink 182/Green Day whiny, nasal vocal monotony, but now that "britpop" encompasses more folk and acoustically-aligned artists like Badly Drawn Boy, Tram or Coldplay, I don't see the necessity of accusing an American band of sounding too British ... jeezus that gets old. BRMC is an impressive debut from this L.A.-based band, combining some of the best elements of druggy, droney 60's psychedelia and garage R&B rock; and on occasion, lead guitarist/vocalist Peter Hayes sounds uncannily like Roger (Jim) McGuinn of The Byrds (see "Too Real" or "Salvation"). BRMC sounds like a hybrid of the Jesus and Mary Chain and Spiritualized (there we go with comparisons again!), but they've also managed to carve out their own style such that you won't mistake them for either of the aforementioned. Standout songs are "Love Burns", "Whatever Happened to My Rock 'n' Roll (punk song)", "Awake", "Rifles" and "Spread Your Love". One of the most refreshing, promising American debuts in years."
A damn good record
Mark Nettesheim | St. Louis | 08/30/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"First of all, yes, this band isn't very original and relies on a lot of stuff that seems to have been done before. You could probably say that about most -- if not all -- new bands and debut albums. But, hell, you could pretty much say that for most of the reviews and articles that have been written about this band so far, too. Almost every one that I've seen (and I'm talking about in the press, not the ones here) seems to mention at least three of the following four thoughts: (1) the Jesus & Mary Chain fixation; (2) the rap-rock and boy-band marketing strategies that've been raping popular music for the past few years; (3) "Whatever Happened to My Rock 'n' Roll" as an answer to its own question; and, (4) Black Rebel Motorcycle Club sounds like the name of a metal band.In my case, when I first saw "Whatever Happened. . ." on the public access video show late at night awhile back, besides thinking that it was the most completely dead-on song I'd heard all year, I thought "B.R.M.C." (as the credit indicated) was a raw garage band -- along the lines of, say, the Makers or a less flamboyant Rocket From the Crypt. And when I later learned what the initials stood for and saw the Stooges, Joy Division and the Velvet Underground (two of my favorite bands and one that I should get into more) listed among their influences, I got even more excited. So it was a bit of a shock at first when I listened to some of their other songs off their website. (They have about half the CD and a live set from Milwaukee on there. It's great.) I'm not really that much of an aficionado of J&MC and their ilk, but to be honest, even though the songs didn't hook me right away, they didn't take more than a couple of listens to "grow on" me, either, so I bought the CD. Besides the one song, "Love Burns" has this melody, "White Palms" has this interplay between bass and guitar and "Salvation" has this . . . trancelike . . . feeling, and I can't get 'em out of my head. (They pushed matchbox 20 and Creed out of there finally, though, so I'm doubly thankful.) Anyway, there's a lot of trippy atmospheric stuff fading in and out of most of the songs, and there's even more distortion and dissonance and . . . deconstruction, I guess. (There are also hintings of what may develop into a sound of their own, but that's something else.) If you're into J&MC, My Bloody Valentine, Ride and all of that, then maybe this will sound pretty familiar, yeah. But that's not necessarily a bad thing. If anything, it's something that will probably bring back old memories rather than bombard you with its presence on the radio or VH1 these days. (I guess that many of the kids who are into what they play on MTV were prenatal or too young to remember when this music first appeared.) And for people like me, who aren't too familiar with the music, maybe it'll get them interested and bring some of these bands back into cultural consciousness again.Of course, even after all of this, I still go back to "Whatever Happened. . ." I'm actually tempted to call it an anthem, not only because it rocks so hard but also because so many people my age seem to be asking the exact same question. But, then again, that'd just mean that it'd be played every 20 minutes on the radio and maybe even on MTV, and everybody'd just get sick of it. So I won't say that Black Rebel Motorcycle Club will necessarily save rock 'n' roll. (No band has ever really done that on their own, and I don't expect this one to be an exception.) I don't even know if they're the start of something new in music, although I definitely hope so. All I can say is that this is a damn good record for this year, and that's saying something."
This Album Is Incredible!
prymel | Anaheim, CA USA | 05/20/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The reviewers who cite the influences on B.R.M.C. are absolutely correct - the band sounds like a combination of other artists and bands that came before it. So dock it for originality, if you will.The only thing to keep in mind is that about one percent or less of pop and rock music released these days is truly original. Virtually everything is derivative of something or someone.Anyone who fails to buy this CD will be missing out on one of the best new albums of the year. They do derive heavily from others who came before, but they do it in such an incredibly wonderful, inspiring way, and the band creates its own unique sound. The melodies on this CD are just lovely. From the opening hooks of "Love Burns" until the last note is played, B.R.M.C. spins unforgettable song after song. While we're talking about influences, be sure to check out the George Harrison/"Blue Jay Way"-esque "Too Real", just a fantastic track.I strongly recommend this album."
Soon To Be A Classic
Tim Pierce | New York | 04/09/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I got this album a little while ago and at first it didn't blow me away, there's a whole lot going on in a small space of time that you can't pick up at first listen. In time though this album and these songs started to infect my mind and subconscious with melody's and dark poetic lines that ran together in circles and bend in your stomach like wrench. The massive sonic scope of this album is something you would only get on a Pink Floyd album or some Spiritualize jamout that lasts way to long to be interesting but BRMC holds it together at every twist and curve keeping it's self from becoming just like that. This album is a perfect coin of both raging defiance and gentle harmony. I couldn't help but think of My Bloody Valentine and Spiritualized when i first listened but i don't think those bands are as complex as this album, if you look at their lyrics and just musically as a sonic sculpture this album has a lot more going on. I heard the stuff about this guitarist being in Brian Jonestown Massacre and the bass player being son of The Call's Michael Bean which seem like good things being both Jonestown and The Call were cutting edge for their time the punked out aggression, the nonconformists overspills it seems into B.R.M.C. if not in the lyrics but the harsh tones of "whatever happened to my rocknroll" and "spread your love".Neverless, i really just wanted to say that this album is **** brilliant and I hope people give it a hard listen cause your gonna miss it if you don't. There's a lyric one of the last songs on my CD that says "I Keep My Head Up High To Ease My Mind of All These True Sensations" Now, I'm not sure if all that's keeping but it's amazing writing that makes this album better than anything else I've heard to in a long time and that's undeniable my droogies."
One hell of a ride
matthew reinholds | auckland New Zealand | 07/25/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If, on a debut album, you're going to title a song "Whatever happened to my rock 'n' roll" then you better make sure you back it up with something of lasting quality.Black rebel motorcycle have not only in B.R.M.C created a body of work that will live long in the conscious, but one of the defining albums of the new millennium, which moves the heart, mind, soul and body in equal parts.The opening "love burns", like all great opening tracks, has that attention grabbing riff and creates the momentum for which "red eyes and tears" and then "Whatever happened...." build and expand upon. The latter is like a dirge with a pulse - an eye bleeding riff combined with an air tight rhythm section as it threatens to roll on and on forever destroying everything in it's wake.Sure at times they sound like J&MC - especially on track five "white palms" (or is that just because the word Jesus is in the chorus???) and at times they even have that chaotic dense layered sound of My bloody Valentines. Music IS about borrowing from the past, it is about influences and this is what makes bands like the Black rebel motorcycle club so interesting. They take, borrow and recreate with their own angle. For this they are to be congratulated for having such wonderful taste, not lambasted for being short on ideas or originality.B.R.M.C is one of those wonderful albums that don't come out too often and an asset to any CD collection."