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The Jesus and Mary Chain

Damage and Joy

ADA/Warner Music

Mar 23, 2017 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

When The Jesus and Mary Chain reunited in 2007, it was unexpected given the acrimonious breakup that brothers Jim Reid and William Reid experienced while touring for their 1998 album Munki. After some touring in recent years, including some dates playing their classic 1985 debut LP Psychocandy in full back in 2015, they’re back with their first album in 19 years. Not surprisingly, it nods more in the direction of their ‘90s records (particularly Munki, and the quieter parts are reminiscent of 1994’s overlooked Stoned and Dethroned) as well as the work that both brothers have done in subsequent years, particularly Freeheat (whose song “Two of Us” is given new life here), as well as Sister Vanilla (the final track “Can’t Stop the Rock” was originally a Sister Vanilla song). In short, don’t expect an album in the style of Psychocandy or even 1987’s Darklands. However, if you’ve been following them closely, this makes sense. More importantly, the songwriting and playing here are more assured than their legendarily ramshackle live shows would lead one to believe. The latter is in part because the Reids are joined by producer and Killing Joke legend Youth on bass on some songs, while others feature old bassist Phil King of the recently broken up Lush. Youth gives them a crisp, clear sound that balances their tendencies towards distortion and melody perfectly. Second single “Always Sad,” “Song for a Secret,” the Kennedy-referencing “Presedici (Et Chapaquiditch),” and “Facing Up to the Facts” are the strongest songs here, many featuring an unnamed female backing or co-lead vocalist. The oddest song here is “Simian Split,” which references the conspiracy theory that states that Kurt Cobain was murdered. In fairness, it seems tongue-in-cheek, as the real strengths here are songs like the aforementioned “The Two of Us,” which compare and contrast the highs of drugs with the highs of being in a relationship. (

Author rating: 7.5/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10


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