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Alternative & Indie - Released September 23, 2011 | Rhino

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Alternative & Indie - Released September 23, 2011 | Rhino

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
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Alternative & Indie - Released September 23, 2011 | Rhino

Distinctions Sélection du Mercury Prize
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Pop - Released June 20, 2006 | WM UK

Distinctions Sélection du Mercury Prize
Again working with Alan Moulder but now also using a live drummer on most tracks -- namely Monti from Curve, one of the Mary Chain's many descendants -- the Reids came back strong with Honey's Dead, on balance a more consistent and satisfying record than Automatic. There's a sense of greater creativity with the arrangements, while the balance between blasting static rampage and precise, almost clinical delivery is the finest yet, making the album as a whole the best straight-through listen since Psychocandy. Monti's drumming finally replaces Bobby Gillespie's properly; he's a much more talented musician than the Primal Scream overlord, using the warped funk hits familiar from Curve's work to the Mary Chain's advantage. Even the drum machine-driven cuts work better than before, especially the brilliant, coruscating opener, "Reverence." Burning with some of the best nails-on-chalkboard feedback the band had yet recorded, combined with a whipsmart sharp breakbeat, all it took was the finishing touch of Jim Reid's sneering lines like "I wanna die like Jesus Christ" to make it another stone-cold classic single from the band. Other winners include "Sugar Ray," with beats and melody so immediate and addictive the track was actually used for a beer commercial, of all things, and the steady slap and crunch of "Good for My Soul." If there's a danger in Honey's Dead, it's that the near bottomless pit of reworked melodies and lyrics had almost reached its end -- even the final track, "Frequency," combines both "Reverence" itself with the Modern Lovers' "Roadrunner" -- which made the stylistic shift on Stoned & Dethroned a logical follow-up. William and Jim Reid split all the vocals almost evenly, the former especially shining on the nearly gentle "Almost Gold," the closest the record comes to a sweet ballad. ~ Ned Raggett
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Alternative & Indie - Released March 24, 2017 | Artificial Plastic Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released September 23, 2011 | Rhino

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Pop - Released June 20, 2006 | Rhino

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Alternative & Indie - Released November 4, 2011 | WM UK

Original Album Series offers the Jesus and Mary Chain's five albums -- 1985’s Psychocandy through 1994’s Stoned and Dethroned -- all recorded for Blanco y Negro in the U.K., for a price just north of one full-price CD. The packaging is basic and functional, with each album in a somewhat sturdy paper sleeve (akin to the Creation label’s late-‘80s/early-‘90s CD EPs) that replicates the artwork. This is a more affordable option for those who are uninterested in the expanded 2006 Rhino and 2011 Edsel reissues, but there are no B-sides or non-album tracks here -- just the albums straight up with the original mastering. ~ Andy Kellman
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Pop - Released June 20, 2006 | Rhino - Warner Records

Having made a name for itself through its career for punishing noise combined with candy-coated hooks, the Jesus and Mary Chain took a sideways step on Stoned & Dethroned that actually worked rather handsomely. The Reids turned the emphasis toward much calmer, acoustic folk/country-tinged songs and, for the first time since Psychocandy, recorded with an actual full band, with Monti from Curve once again doing the drum honors and touring bassist Ben Lurie handling the same duties in studio. The appearance of Hope Sandoval on lead single "Sometimes Always" makes perfect sense, as Mazzy Star's electric/acoustic psych flow is, if not the inspiration for Stoned & Dethroned, a close enough cousin. "Sometimes Always" does indeed make for a lovely little duet, not quite a Lee & Nancy combination for a new generation, but a fine romp anyway, while on the other guest number Shane Macgowan from the Pogues takes a nicely mournful lead turn on "God Help Me." As for the album in general, the songs are much more than simply a toned-down Mary Chain -- it's almost as if the group were making its bid to finally demonstrate that it really was comprised of actual musicians, honest to goodness. What feedback there is appears as smoky atmosphere rather than skull-crushing scream, and oddly enough the end results almost suggest early-'70s Rolling Stones more than anything else, tinged as always with pure pop hooks and melodies. William's singing actually comes more to the fore than before, his warmer, less sneering vocals suiting the burned-out feeling of the album very nicely. A few songs could easily be full-on monsters -- the brief "Come On" and the almost uplifting "Girlfriend" in particular -- but, by and large, the drama is implicit rather than explicit. ~ Ned Raggett
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Rock - Released November 6, 2015 | WM UK

Just a few years into their official recording career, the Jesus and Mary Chain had enough B-sides, outtakes, and other things sitting around to warrant a collection of nearly all of them, thus Barbed Wire Kisses. A welcome inclusion is the original debut single on Creation, "Upside Down," which in terms of the mix alone makes Psychocandy sound like Boston. Unfortunately the flip side cover of the Pink Floyd rarity "Vegetable Man" doesn't make it, but obvious inspirations the Beach Boys get saluted twice, once through a heavily thrashed-up cover of "Surfin' USA" that's pure Psychocandy in fidelity and impact, then again through a hilarious parody. "Kill Surf City" is pure Brian Wilson circa 1963 in melody, but the lyrics are something else again -- death, doom, destruction, and a bit of love here and there -- and the end result is a truly nutty combination. Another double tribute is given to Bo Diddley; his "Who Do You Love" becomes a low, menacing lope, echo cranked up high, while "Bo Diddley Is Jesus" just about says it all in the title, while of all bands, Can gets a nod via a cool live cover of "Mushroom." A single came with the whole thing as well, "Sidewalking," one of the band's best yet. Taking a T. Rex-styled glam strut and running it through their trademark clang'n'scrape feedback wringer, it's a monstrous track, the best song from the group since their Psychocandy days. A large number of tracks essentially continue the Psychocandy aesthetic without adding much to it, though those not entirely taken with Darklands will find much to love with the likes of "Head" and "Cracked." Meanwhile, two alternate versions of album cuts -- an acoustic take on "Taste of Cindy" and a neat demo take of "On the Wall" -- add to the fun. ~ Ned Raggett
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Alternative & Indie - Released September 23, 2011 | WM UK

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Alternative & Indie - Released March 24, 2017 | Artificial Plastic Records

In the nearly 20 years since they last released a record as the Jesus and Mary Chain, the Reid brothers stayed busy with new bands and solo careers. They reconvened the band occasionally for live shows and tours, but the recording studio wasn't a place the notoriously disaffected siblings felt comfortable visiting together. That changed in 2015 when the pair reached a level of détente sufficient to start working together and in 2017 they released their seventh album, Damage and Joy. Along with writing new songs, Jim and William rounded up some of their favorite songs done solo or with other bands over the years, then redid them in cohesive fashion. They also took back two songs they gave their sister Linda for her band Sister Vanilla and laid down a new version of "All Things Must Pass," a song they recorded in 2008 for the soundtrack to Heroes. Working with producer Youth, the brothers called on drummer Brian Young and a bevy of backing vocalists (Isobel Campbell, Sky Ferreira, sister Linda) to help craft a record that revisits just about every sound the JAMC did post-Psychocandy. It would have been a mistake to try to recapture that once-in-a-lifetime event, so instead they touch on the drum-machine blues-punk of Automatic on "All Things Pass," the stripped-down pop of Darklands on "The Two of Us," and quite a bit of the weathered and torn acoustic balladry that dominated Stoned & Dethroned. Both "Always Sad" and "Song for a Secret" quote almost directly from that album's big hit, "Sometimes Always"; the former even lifts the guitar solo note for note. The rest of the album sounds like a dead ringer for 1992's Honey's Dead, which was heralded as their return to the noise and nastiness that made them a sensation. Quite a few songs could have been on that album or served as B-sides; a couple could have even been singles (especially the romping bit of dead Kennedy nostalgia "Presidici [Et Chapaquiditch]"). Anyone expecting anything new from them will have to be content with the big ballad "Los Feliz (Blues and Greens)," which adds strings to the arrangement while borrowing from Tom Petty's "Free Fallin'." Otherwise it's business as usual, from the time-honored melodies to the questionably rebellious lyrics, wrapped in grungy guitars and topped by Jim's suitably snarling vocals. As far as nostalgia trips go, it's a solid effort. Both brothers sound engaged in a way they didn't on their pre-breakup album, Munki; the guest vocalists add some nice texture; and almost every song sounds comfortingly familiar. There's nothing here that might jolt anyone out of thinking the album came out in the mid-'90s, nothing that will thrill or shock as it spins to a predictable close. It might make their fans happy, but for a band that claims to be dangerous and rebellious, it goes a long way toward reinforcing the fact that the JAMC are no longer either of those things. ~ Tim Sendra
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Pop/Rock - Released October 14, 2011 | Sony Music UK

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Pop - Released October 9, 1989 | Rhino - Warner Records

The Jesus and Mary Chain's third studio album was a mixed bag, a touch rougher and more aggressive-sounding than Darklands, but still not the equivalent of Psychocandy for sheer kicks. Part of the problem was the actual studio setup; while soon-to-be superstar producer/engineer Alan Moulder did a great job on the sound, finding a way to mix thick guitar rumbles without sounding uncommercial, the fact was that the band was really just the brothers at this point. Like on Darklands, all drumming was courtesy of machines, and here the approach often felt monotonous; Bobby Gillespie's approach, for better or worse, really was distinct and individual, fitting with the style of the band beautifully. Meanwhile, much of the bass was also created via keyboards, another unusual switch. When Automatic was on, though, it was on, especially courtesy of another blazingly brilliant single. If "Sidewalking" was a T. Rex homage, "Head On" paid tribute to rock's eternal image of supercharged cool; one can almost smell the black leather as Jim Reid delivers the ultimate "Break on Through" lyric: "Makes you wanna feel/Makes you wanna try/Makes you wanna blow the stars from the sky." The music sure didn't hurt either; even the synth bass sounded perfectly right. Other songs, like the brawling "Blues From a Gun" and the aggro-sneer of "Her Way of Praying," suggest a new energy on the part of all involved, though likely enough they came across better live in the end with the Reids' then-touring band of the time. Meanwhile, there are definitely some sharp individual moments: the sudden massive feedback clang during the instrumental break on "Coast to Coast," the "Sweet Jane"-inspired melody on the nicely moving "Halfway to Crazy," and the hint of strings on the brief "Drop." ~ Ned Raggett
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Alternative & Indie - Released December 9, 2016 | Artificial Plastic Records

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Rock - Released July 31, 2015 | Edsel

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Pop - Released September 30, 2008 | Rhino - Warner Records

The Jesus and Mary Chain's 2008 Rhino four-disc box set The Power of Negative Thinking: B-Sides & Rarities, collects all of the influential Scottish noise-pop band's various B-side singles, cover songs, and sundry demos in one terrific package. Fans of JAMC who already own the band's albums should be pleased to see that none of the original album tracks are included here. For those who don't own them, Rhino's 2006 bonus disc reissues of Psychocandy, Darklands, Automatic, Honey's Dead, and Stoned & Dethroned is the place to start. However, in many ways The Power of Negative Thinking is a more honest portrait of JAMC than even the studio albums reveal. Often mischaracterized as gloomy, goth rock misanthropes -- only partly true -- JAMC were in truth huge fans of '60s sunshine pop, surf rock, and even hip-hop and aspired to a kind of D.I.Y. Phil Spector Wall of Sound aesthetic that found them substituting Spector's strings and horns with walls of feedbacking guitar. These are rough demos meant to capture the Reid brothers' raw creative vision of rock music that -- as guitarist Jim Reid says in the liner notes -- had, "the pop sensibilities of the Shangri-Las, but with the production values of the Birthday Party." In that sense, we get JAMC from their dreamy lo-fi punk roots with the 1983 drum machine-driven demo for "Up Too High" and 1984's sludgy feedback-laden "Upside Down," to their time as '90s alt rock icons on such pristinely polished efforts like shimmering 1992 ballad "Why Do You Want Me?" and the catchy folk-rock of 1994's "Something I Can't Have." We even get one of the few non-Reid entries in bassist Ben Lurie's pop nugget "Rocket." Also enlightening are such giddy cover songs as JAMC's version of Bo Diddley's "Who Do You Love," Prince's "Alphabet Street," and the Temptations' "My Girl" which purportedly JAMC were so drunk during the recording of they could barely hold their instruments. It's also true that the Reid brothers were big fans of Bob Dylan and that many of these songs were written on acoustic guitar. Not surprisingly, here we get blissfully melodic acoustic versions of "Just Like Honey" and "Taste of Cindy," which actually come fairly close to fulfilling JAMC's Spector-ish aspirations. Ultimately, The Power of Negative Thinking isn't the whole JAMC story, but it's the whole story behind the scenes and A-side singles, and sometimes the B-sides. Even better. ~ Matt Collar
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Alternative & Indie - Released February 10, 2017 | Artificial Plastic Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released September 16, 2017 | Artificial Plastic Records

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The Jesus And Mary Chain in the magazine