by Eric Shea

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

Mon July 21

Berbati's Pan

You always hear about the local band that made it big and left all its embittered friends in the dust, whining and perpetually unsigned outfits whose only purpose is to fulfill the prophecy of Morrissey's "We Hate It When Our Friends Become Successful."

The guys in Black Rebel Motorcycle Club are not that kind of band. In the Rock 'n' Roll High School yearbook, they'd be awarded "Band Least Likely to Courtney Taylor Your Ass," as they're just as nice and humble today as they were back when they were called the Elements in 1997.

Back then, my now defunct Bay Area band, Mover, used to practice two doors down from them in Oakland. One night, I remember hearing this serpentine sound slither down the hall. Piping into our room was this rough-and-tumble drone-rock that pounded seductively with sinister vocals and bionic drumming that gave me that "special feeling" right where I go "number one." I heard something that sounded like a dirtier Spiritualized with bigger balls. It sounded so good you wanted to fuck to it in an old car.

B.R.M.C.'s new album Take Them On, On Your Own, still makes me want to hit it and quit it from the back seat of a '70s Charger. Songs like "Six Barrel Shotgun" seem punchier and brasher than the band's previous recordings, but the production comes off more bionic without sounding glassy and coked-up like a stupid Richard Ashcroft album.

There are already a lot of heavy expectations on this album coming from San Francisco, the hometown of the B.R.M.C. sound, but the truth is nobody in the Bay Area (or anywhere) can rightfully talk shit about these guys; no more joking that B.R.M.C. really stands for Band Relives Mary Chain. But while most English guys really get their knickers tied in knots about the inevitability of obvious comparisons, drummer Nick Jago doesn't seem too bothered by references to the brothers Reid.

"Maybe it's all [journalists] could come up with at the time, but we never really did sound like them," he says. "We still sound like how we always have sounded. We said it from the start. But you know, the Jesus and Mary Chain were a very good band, so I'm not hung up on it."

Cheers, dude.