THE BARGAIN BUY: The Jesus and Mary Chain: Original Album Series (Rhino)

 |   |  1 min read

Jesus and Mary Chain: April Skies (from Darklands)
THE BARGAIN BUY: The Jesus and Mary Chain: Original Album Series (Rhino)

The Jesus and Mary Chain out of Glasgow certainly alienated audiences when they first appeared: not the least for performances which barely stretched past the 15 or 20 minute mark.

But it was their noise-drenched guitar sonics and distant, droning vocals on their debut album Psychocandy in '85 -- which took aspects of the Velvet Underground one step removed and distilled them to essentials -- that had some recoiling. And they were loud.

Critics loved them -- the critics were right -- and Psychocandy is a cornerstone album in any loud alt.rock collection. They were also enormously influential (many forget that in Britain the VU were less influential than they were among alt.rock bands in the States or the Antipodes) and even today in bands like The Pains of Being Pure at Heart you can hear an echo of their intensity and pop smarts.

And the JMC did craft pop songs -- albeit burying them behind a shield of daunting guitar static. Some Candy Talking from Psychocandy has a lovely understated melody (compare it with the Church's Priest = Aura). The JAMC songs are frequently cousins from the same VU/Ramones family bloodline via a reductive version of girl group pop. And the Beach Boys in the case of Never Understand.

Their second album Darklands ('87) upped the melody factor considerably and is perhaps their most approachable; Automatic ('89) seemed a retreat or holding action; but by Honey's Dead ('92) and Stoned And Dethroned ('94, which included contributions from William Reid's girlfriend Hope Sandoval) their reputation was secure -- even if their future wasn't. JB_HZ_CHEAP_long

Always a volatile band (two brothers, and others) they inevitably split and just as inevitably later reformed. But their most significant music (if not always their most popular) had come on those first two albums, and was scattered on the other three.

And these five albums are currently available at JB Hi-Fi stores here for a paltry $20. That is certainly a (noisy, parent or Pop Idol-baiting) Bargain Buy

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   The Bargain Buy articles index

THE BARGAIN BUY: Cream; The Best of Cream

THE BARGAIN BUY: Cream; The Best of Cream

When the great bass player Jack Bruce died a fortnight ago his life was sadly, but inevitably in these days of tweets and soundbites, reduced to just the few years he was with Cream. That he had... > Read more

THE BARGAIN BUY: Harry Nilsson; Original Album CLassics (Sony)

THE BARGAIN BUY: Harry Nilsson; Original Album CLassics (Sony)

If Elsewhere could persuade its readers to discover just one over-looked singer-songwriter it would be Harry Nilsson who died almost penniless in '94. As with Leonard Cohen, Nilsson had lost his... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

PAUL McCARTNEY 1970 AND 1980 (2011): Lowkey at each end of his first post-Beatles decade

PAUL McCARTNEY 1970 AND 1980 (2011): Lowkey at each end of his first post-Beatles decade

In a few months Sir James Paul McCartney, age 68, will premier his new work, a major orchestral piece for the New York City Ballet entitled Oceans Kingdom, written in conjunction with American... > Read more

GUEST WRITER SARAH JANE ROWLAND on New York fashion photographer Bill Cunningham

GUEST WRITER SARAH JANE ROWLAND on New York fashion photographer Bill Cunningham

Veteran photographer Bill Cunningham considers himself a reporter using his camera like a pen, astutely observing and documenting street fashion, society events and runway collections for The New... > Read more