Psychocandy review by The Jesus and Mary Chain

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  • Released: Nov 18, 1985
  • Sound: 8
  • Lyrics: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.3 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.8 (4 votes)
The Jesus and Mary Chain: Psychocandy

Sound — 8
The Jesus And Mary Chain's sound is one that has influenced decades of alternative/indie rockers and which, alongside the Cocteay Twins' lush dream pop, set the foundations for what would become 90's shoegazing. Their music is composed of fuzzy feedback-laden guitar and deadpan vocals over simple, catchy pop structures. A key element of The Jesus and Mary Chain's noisy post-punk is simplicity. Relying on just a few chords per song, The Reid brothers & co. Demonstrate that, even in the 80's musical landscape of pop-metal soloists and macho shredders, stripped-down punk structures still had their appeal. Boasting a very obvious Velvet Underground influence, the JAMC's songs are slow, psychadelic affairs, with Jim Reid moaning lazily over sheets of sheets of guitar noise and monolithic percussion. Though the same technique is used song after song, each song on Psychocandy has a very distinct identity, and the album remains accessible and interesting.

Lyrics — 10
The Jesus And Mary Chain's lyrics are often as psychadelic and zoned-out as their noisy guitar sound. Jim Reid's voice is alternatively a detached, lifeless drone ("Taste Of Cindy") and a furious yelp ("In A Hole"). The simple, rhyming lines of lyrics recall 60's pop but are infused with a nihilism and identity that is clearly the descendant of 70's punk rock groups. The Velvet Underground's influence is consistently apparent throughout The Jesus and Mary Chain's songs, which are almost invariably metaphors for either sex or drug use. Through all of the abstract songwriting and detached vocalising, it is possible to find a hint of introspection, such as on "Inside Me", which has the youngest Reid brother exclaiming in paranoid tones that "It's living inside me". The Jesus and Mary Chain's lyrics are by no means high art, but they are sincere and suit their music perfectly.

Overall Impression — 10
Compared to the best albums of the shoegazing genre that it helped spawn, Psychocandy still stands out as an exceptional album. Simple but carefully crafted, each song could easily have been a single, with infectious pop tunes lurking just beneath the surface of each fuzz-drenched track. "The Living Dead" stands as the most aggressive song of the album, demonstrating the band's punk influence and justifying the title they recieved as 'the new Sex Pistols'. Other songs, such as the lead single "Just Like Honey" and the ballad "In A Hole" demonstrate the JAMC's ability to craft soft, mournful songs while still delivering the no-punches-pulled noise that made them infamous. This is a classic album within the indie rock genre, one with an influence which can be felt to this day.

4 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Fantastic album and band. It's about time that someone put up a review of this on here. Good job by the way!
    Fantastic album and band. About time someone did a review on this. Great job too.
    Thanks. I'm flattered that it earned two different comments, thirty minutes apart by the same user xD =)
    The song is called "The Living End". Other than that, agreed. This album is in my revolving top three of favorite albums of all time. Great, great album.