Swiftly-recorded follow-up from scuzz-rock trio
Last year’s debut from BRMC could not have divided the Uncut troops more. Our reviewer gave it two stars and found them far too similar to The Jesus & Mary Chain to merit serious attention. Others among us felt that the whole reason we got into this in the first place was crystallised in the shock-and-awe call to arms of “Whatever Happened To My Rock’n’Roll (Punk Song)”?”I fell in love with a sweet sensation/I gave my heart to a simple chord.” So in the issue following our dismissive review, we ran a feature in which we called them “visceral, narcotic, sultry, utterly addictive”, and put “White Palms” on our covermount CD (Take 58). Never let it be said Uncut is not a broad church.
The trio’s follow-up-recorded not in their native California but London because of British drummer Nick Jago’s visa problems?is unlikely to heal the office schism. But it’s a far more diverse offering which should at least lay to rest some of the Psychocandy comparisons. That said, they’re still at their best when they stick to the titanic scuzz-rock of their debut. “Six Barrel Shotgun” is this album’s answer to “Whatever Happened…”, and the nearest they get to the Reid Brothers. “Stop” is another winner, all fuzzy pop hooks that sound like Oasis’ third album should have done if they hadn’t got so fucked up on ego and cocaine. The simple chord that drives “We’re All In Love” was blatantly borrowed from Keef, while “Generation” noisily takes you back to the days when rock’n’roll was the place where all the weirdos and outsiders hung out to find validation. You feel Peter Hayes is telling the truth when he sings, “I don’t feel at home in this generation.” He’s not in rock’n’roll as a career option. It’s the only thing he knows how to do because he’s totally fucking useless at life, the universe and everything else.
Elsewhere, The Velvet Underground cast their shadow over “Shade Of Blue” and the Bush-baiting “US Government” will upset or gratify all the right people. Less successful is the acoustic “And I’m Aching”, which suggests that an unplugged BRMC album would not be a good move. They run out of steam completely towards the end with the narcoleptic “Suddenly” and the tuneless “Rise Or Fall”. But there’s still plenty here to justify giving up your heart to that simple chord all over again.