THE JESUS AND MARY CHAIN Damage And Joy gets 7/10


The Jesus And Mary Chain
Damage And Joy
Artificial Plastic/Warner


The relationship of Scotland’s Reid brothers may be as tumultuous as the famous Gallagher siblings, but their tunes have never been as pedestrian as their Manc counterparts. The Jesus And Mary Chain were best known as the band that covered their Velvet Underground inspired tunes in waves of feedback and would put on live shows that were nothing less than chaotic.

Their first album in nineteen years, Damage And Joy, doesn’t hark back to those earsplitting days, taking more of a cue from the band’s melodic period in the 90s. Being a band that have truly embraced black clothing and melancholy, little has changed on this outing. The brothers continue to embrace lazy, fuzzed out guitars, broken hearts and drug references.

War And Peace finds the Reids at their most languorous before a sudden burst of feedback and distortion is gone as quickly as it began. The Jesus And Mary Chain have managed to hold on to an amount of angst that is usually reserved for the younger generation. Always Sad fits this mould perfectly as the band stick steadfastly to their classic rock influences.

Slow purposeful guitar leads are prevalent and Song For A Secret manages to wrap itself around your brain without ever appearing to get out of first gear. It is something that The Jesus And Mary Chain have had a knack of pulling off since their Darklands days.

Simian Split is the most ambitious moment on the album, but suffers from some truly annoying lyrics and gets caught up in its own organ. It doesn’t help that it is sandwiched next to the pedestrian Facing Up To The Facts, but other than this, the misfires are few.

There has been success in the past with the almost monotone Reid brothers vocals being lifted by a female foil. This is done with the most success when teaming up with pop chanteuse Sky Ferreira on Black and Blues and with their younger sister Linda Fox on the immediately catchy Can’t Stop The Rock.

Damage And Joy shamelessly sticks to the formulas that have worked for The Jesus And Mary Chain for decades and feels like it was constructed in a cheap and gloomy New York basement. There may have been a nineteen year absence between outings, but little has changed to blunt their potency.