BBC Review

'Spread Your Love' will have you singing the chorus and swinging your hips for months...

Dan Tallis 2002

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club eh? Doesn't leave much to the imagination does it? How many synonyms for Punk Rock do you need? These people like to wear black, incessantly, they are rebels (apparently) and they have a motorcycle club. Mods and Rockers for 2002.

The band even named themselves after Marlon Brando's motorcycle gang in 'The Wild One'. The album sleeve, with its images of black clad band members, cries "We are dark, we are moody . . . don't come here if you want sweetness and light". Glance at the list of song names and track 3 immediately stands out: "Whatever happened To My Rock N' Roll (punk song)". OK, OK, we get the message.

Listening to track 3 you might be forgiven for believing that your worst fears have been confirmed; this is another act trying to hitch a ride on the White Strokes bandwagon. "Whatever Happened to . . ." is dull. But if you make it to track 4, you will be rewarded. "Awake" is a great song that thankfully doesn't hark back to years gone by. Layer upon layer of guitar swirl around and leap euphorically in a Verve or Spiritualized manner. Likewise the anthemic "Rifles" rumbles on in a Stone Roses fashion for seven glorious minutes while "Spread Your Love" will have you singing the chorus and swinging your hips for months to come.

Elsewhere "Head Up High" and "Salvation" are forgettably bland and "As Sure As The Sun" sounds like a band trying too hard to sound like Jesus and Mary Chain. And herein may lie the problem: if they stopped trying so hard to be rock stars they might just sound a bit more original and genuine. They would certainly have more fun.

The boys from San Francisco won't change the world but they have made a record that will, in parts, improve your 2002.

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