The Jesus And Mary Chain Psychocandy Turns 30

The Audio Mug | November 18, 2015 - 11:42 am
By The Audio Mug | November 18, 2015
Arguably Psychocandy is an album with one trick and one trick alone — The Beach Boys melodies meet Velvet Underground feedback and beats, all cranked up to ten and beyond, along with plenty of echo. However, what a trick it is. Following up on the promise of the earliest singles, The Jesus And Mary Chain with Psychocandy arguably created a movement without meaning to, one that itself caused echoes in everything from bliss-out shoegaze to snotty Britpop and back again. The best tracks were without question those singles, anti-pop yet pure pop at the same time: “Just Like Honey,” starting off like the Ronettes heard in a canyon and weirdly beautiful with its bells, “You Trip Me Up” and its slinking sense of cool, and most especially “Never Understand.” Storming down like a rumble of bricks wrapped in cotton candy and getting more and more frenetic at the end, when there’s nothing but howls and screaming noise, it’s one hell of a track. However, at least in terms of sheer sonic violence and mayhem, most of the other cuts were pretty hard to beat, as sprawling, amped-up messes like “The Living End” (which later inspired both a band and a movie title) and “In A Hole.” “My Little Underground” is actually the secret gem on the album, with a great snarling guitar start, an almost easygoing melody and a great stuttering chorus — not quite the Who but not quite anything else. What the Reids sing about — entirely interchangeable combinations regarding girls, sex, drugs, speed, and boredom in more or less equal measure — is nothing compared to the perfectly disaffected way those sentiments are delivered. Bobby Gillespie’s “hit the drums and then hit them again” style makes Moe Tucker seem like Neil Peart, but arguably in terms of sheer economy he doesn’t need to do any more.

01 “Just Like Honey”
02 “The Living End”
03 “Taste The Floor”
04 “The Hardest Walk”
05 “Cut Dead”
06 “In A Hole”
07 “Taste Of Cindy”
08 “Never Understand”
09 “Inside Me”
10 “Sowing Seeds”
11 “My Little Underground”
12 “You Trip Me Up”
13 “Something’s Wrong”
14 “It’s So Hard”

Psychocandy is released 11/18/85 via Atlantic. Get it on iTunes/Amazon.

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