Posts Tagged ‘jamc’


Jesus and Mary Chain: Darklands (1987)

October 11, 2013


Roll: 3-9-16
Album: Jesus and Mary Chain, Darklands — 2011 2CD/1DVD reissue

Until Stoned and Dethroned (1994) came out, Darklands (1987) was always my least favourite Jesus and Mary Chain record. It didn’t deliver what I wanted from JAMC. Sure, “Happy When It Rains“, boasts the mechanical post-modern rock’n’roll sound I loved on Automatic (1989), but not to the same extent; like it was a demo for that later album’s whole sound. But more importantly, and more detrimentally, Darkands famously abandons the “savage noise-pop” of Psychocandy (1985). To me Darklands was always a sort of nebulous, half-formed, netherworld of an album. So, in a way, one of their most aptly titled collections.

Over the years I’ve remained eternally hopeful and every time I listen to Darklands I expect to hear something in it I’d previously missed. Some hint of the magic and brilliance that’s been ascribed to it by music journalists, fans and bloggers in the years since it’s release. And though I’ll admit it never sounds as bad as I remember, I’ve never been able to hear it as other than a lethargic, boring mid-tempo folk-rock record marred by some pretty glaringly cheesy ’80s production.

I’ve never been sure if it’s just the song arrangements that never worked for me, but the John Hughes-style drum machines really don’t help matters. And I normally love me some grandiose ’80s drum machines, yet somehow I’ve always felt they sound entirely out of place on Darklands. To my ears, the album begs for an organic Sam Phillips/Sun Studio-style production. The songs are essentially a post-punk take on The Everly Brothers and deserve a more human touch.

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Lazycame: Finbegin

November 10, 2010

Today’s roll: 2 – 4 – 9.
Finbegin by Lazycame.

After the Jesus and Mary Chain hot-rod sputtered to rickety halt in 1998, the brothers Reid popped up here and there in a few projects. In 2005 Sister Vanilla saw their sister Linda on board as a singer for probably their best record since Honey’s Dead.

Yet it wasn’t so good a record as to inspire anybody notice or care. Too bad because it’s a great slice of poppy rock’n’roll (aptly titled Little Pop Rock). Though a bit smoother and shinier than JAMC ever tried to be, the chrome finish is still a little rusted, dusty and scuffed. Of course, if Scarlett Johansson (who’d sang with them at their Coachella reunion show) had been the vocalist, then maybe things would have gone differently. Perhaps in the worst possible way.

As neat and tidy as Sister Vanilla were, William Reid‘s solo project, Lazycame, is an entirely different animal. It’s ramshackle, lo-fi, messy, unpleasant, unfocused and, at times, brilliant.

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