JESUS and MARY CHAIN – ” Psychocandy ” Released 30 years ago 18th November 1985

Posted: November 18, 2015 in CLASSIC ALBUMS, MUSIC
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Released in 1985, the style, melodic-pop-swagger and wanton noise of The Jesus And Mary Chain’s debut album ‘Psychocandy’ are all influences still being very much felt in 2022. A beautiful, pure aural assault from brothers Jim and William Reid, and a pre-Primal Scream, Bobby Gillespie, handling the drumming duty on this album.
Fuzz guitar, distortion and feedback drench, but underneath its assertive noise lies a gift for melody inspired by the Beach Boys and girl-group genre. A high-frequency, minimalist, sweet melody-drenched, beauty.

From the second the drums hit on opening track “Just Like Honey,” Psychocandy challenges the idea of a classic pop song. It’s a straight “Be My Baby” beat—galloping, regal and teasing an immanent pronouncement of cinematic sound. But instead of sweeping strings, horns and a female-sung chorus, we meet the reverb-drenched drone of William Reid’s guitar. Mr. Reid’s riff cuts through all that noise and then some.

Thirty years have passed since The Jesus and Mary Chain’s Psychocandy first enveloped and challenged adventurous ears, and the album still sounds just as fresh and vital, equal parts of mercurial grandeur and danger. A new generation of millennials first heard “Just Like Honey” high in the mix at the poignant climax to Sofia Coppola’s 2003 existential dramedy Lost In Translation, soundtracking the moment when Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson reunite in Tokyo to realize that they love each other. It’s the perfect love song for a film about strangers out of place, both warm and alien.

But the Jesus and Mary Chain’s true contribution to our cultural landscape is tied to their ascension, and a small London label called Creation Records. A give’em’hell misanthrope named Alan McGee started Creation in 1983, fed-up with the synthesized nonsense dominating radio at the time, eager to capture some of the crust and grit of the “instant scene” he had inadvertently created after putting on some shows. JAMC’s sojourn from East Kilbride, Scotland, to London was just the beginning—their first singleUpside Down” took off, and the band’s future success was assured.

At the time, Mr. McGee called JAMC’s juxtaposition between guitar-tone, noise and pure pop “indie,” but given the constant focus on reverb, noise and effects pedals, the British press dubbed the sound “shoegazing,” and the term stuck. This genre was later shortened to “shoegaze,” typified by a whole new “wall of sound.” Eat your heart out, Phil Spector. My Bloody Valentine could pull it right out of your body.

“We had the blueprint for Psychocandy long before we’d written any of the songs,” JAMC front man Jim Reid says in the Creation Records documentary Upside Down. “We used to listen to back-to-back stuff, like Einstürzende Neubauten and the Shangri Las. We’d go from one extreme to the other.”

These extremes are audible in “Some Candy Talking,” slowly swaggering to a waltzy drone that conjures the Velvet Underground. Thematically, it’s pure Lou Reed, alluding to one of Warhol’s factory girls, Candy Darling, who counted herself among Mr. Reed’s muses. It’s also a classic VU drug ballad, in which Mr. Reid sings, “And I need/All that stuff/Give me some/Of that stuff/I want your candy.”

“Everything we’d wear and everything we had we got from rock’n’roll,” he says, “and it was totally heartfelt.”

By inadvertently creating shoegaze, Psychocandy taught a future generation of bands that mixing sounds together was not only possible, but cool. Dynamics, tone and texture were powerful tools in any band’s sonic arsenal, genre classifications be damned.

“Psychocandy” was important because it subverted pop; songs had simple pop structure and melody, but their execution was abrasive and challenging.” In the five years following Psychocandy’s release, shoegaze became a legitimate genre; a term originally penned to dismiss the JAMC’s lack of stage presence was subverted, reclaimed and flaunted as as a virtuous signifier of edginess and noise.

The Mary Chain provided in buckets. But they didn’t want to deny their poppier, rock’n’roll roots either, so it was the perfect aural marriage.”

Psychocandy (1985) Track listing :
1. Just Like Honey
2. The Living End
3. Taste the Floor
4. The Hardest Walk
5. Cut Dead
6. In a Hole
7. Taste of Cindy
8. Some Candy Talking
9. Never Understand
10. Inside Me
11. Sowing Seeds
12. My Little Underground
13. You Trip Me Up
14. Something’s Wrong
15. It’s So Hard

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