Scottish masters of fuzzing up guitars while looking at their shoes The Jesus & Mary Chain are back with a new album after 19 years. Featuring the first single Amputation, which has an easygoing Dandy Warhols-like sound, Damage & Joy is the latest development in a series of late 80s and early 90s bands finding out with some surprise that they’re still alive and maybe they still like making music.
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4 reviews. Write a review for us »
A new Jesus and Mary Chain album should really be no cause for celebration in 2017. It’s kind of like when Slim Whitman released his 1985 comeback single - some things should be left in the past.
All that opener ‘Amputation’ made me want to do is to listen again to ‘Psychocandy’ so I suppose for that and that only it has a purpose in life. Indeed early indications are worrying even before you put the needle on the record - half the songs seem to be stolen from other solo projects and then there’s that sleeve.....because spaghetti letters are the definition of rock and roll. The sleeve kind of sums up the record, clean and devoid of all the grit that once made them so incendiary. With an ageing band like this I suppose they are on safer ground with slower numbers. ‘War On Peace’ is certainly a passable facsimile of a ‘Darklands’ era sludge and even features the trademark guitar feedback that seems to be lacking elsewhere.
‘All Things Pass’ - the only track they recorded during their long hiatus - is a decent stab at an upbeat rattler - perfect film soundtrack fodder - which is exactly what it was before being dredged up. The Mary Chain have never been known for sophisticated songwriting but here their simple rock and roll inspired couplets are almost laughably facile when delivered a little too cleanly. And when Isobel Campbell pops up inexplicably on ’Song For a Secret’ the effect is suffocating bordering on nauseating. The best bits are where the 'Chain locate some of the nastiness and sexiness they displayed in their pomp - ‘Mood Rider’ rises above the rest for simply being a bit horrid. On ‘Presidici’ Jim Reid does his best nasal Mike Love impression on a song which sounds one part ‘Back in the USSR’ one part ‘Summer In Paradise' era Beach Boys.
It's a listenable album - enjoyable in parts but the overriding feeling is what we have is a once great band basically running on fumes with the odd inspired moment which hark back to past glories. Fans will be delighted just to have them around but in ten years time when you think of the Jesus and Mary Chain you won’t think of this.
10/10 Henry Customer review, 26th March 2017
I guess I can see why it is an easy one to knock but for me this was a fantastic listen on vinyl. Great production and a set of songs that i could listen to from start to finish with a smile and sense of nostalgia, High points are All Things Pass, The Two Of Us, Amputation.
Sometimes comeback music does not have to be sophisticated and new just listen to it after a long wait and enjoy it, thank god they made this as it is a great album.
I love it. So there. na na na na na !!
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