Just how cool is too cool?

The Black Rebel Motocycle Club
Virgin/Abstract Dragon

The Black Rebel Motorcycle Club adopted their way-too-hip name from the famous Marlon Brando film “The Wild One.” Oh, but their coolness does not stop there, oh, no. Last December they went on a cross-country tour with Portland’s own cool boys (and girl), The Dandy Warhols.

Hum, is there some sort of cool conspiracy going on here? Yes, all you need to do is check out this trio of rock stars to know that they’ve done their cool homework. Cool hair, cool black clothes, cool cityscape backdrops and smoke-filled clubs for their CD photos.

If you ask me there are two lessons to be learned here. Lesson number one: if you repeat a word as many times as I have repeated “cool,” it becomes boring, as does a look and sound. In effect rendering it uncool.

Lesson number two: If you are going to appear to be so cool, then it is imperative that your music stands up to the image portrayed on your CD cover. This is where B.R.M.C. has got it right.

The too-cool photos and look are about as played out as their sound.Their Web site states that they are in the top 10 of college radio hits. Unfortunately this is most likely due to the age of typical college radio listeners. I would like to think that we at PSU are a bit older and can still remember names like Marc Bolan, Jesus & Mary Chain, Stone Roses, Stone Temple Pilots and My Bloody Valentine. These bands have definitely influenced this band’s sound.

They are good at what they do, but how many bands can one handle when they all sound so similar? I guess that what it comes down to is this: if these are your favorite bands and you can’t seem to get enough of there psychedelic, dark, moody, rock guitar effects then you might like this effort by B.R.M.C. But, I am sorry for you.

OK, here is the skinny, these two cool cats living in San Francisco really loved to listen to early ’90s Euro music such as Jesus & Mary Chain.

The cool cats are Robert Turner who plays guitar, bass and vocals and Peter Hayes who also is cool. Hayes plays guitar, bass and vocals just like his cool friend.

In 1998 they meet the third cool cat, fresh from England Nick Jago, who happened to play drums and percussion. So, the trio of fresh faced reto-clad rockers collected their cool and headed south to the coolest city of all, Los Angeles, where they quickly became popular and before they knew it they had a debut 11-track manifesto of cool recorded by Virgin Records (a pretty darn cool label).

The album was released April 3 and has been reviewed favorably by many publications, however I refuse to do so. Their CD drones on and on like a bad hangover that won’t end. I can totally see the appeal for a drug induced cool L.A. crowd that is waiting in line to eat up the next cool band. I give them no credit for their sound.

It is old and those who did it first did it best. I suggest you don’t waste your time or money on this. Instead go out and buy the real deal, Slider, by T. Rex.