tue 17/09/2019

CD: The Jesus and Mary Chain - Damage and Joy | reviews, news & interviews

CD: The Jesus and Mary Chain - Damage and Joy

CD: The Jesus and Mary Chain - Damage and Joy

East Kilbride’s finest return with their first album in almost 20 years - and it’s a cracker

'Damage and Joy': a triumphant return

Listening to the Jesus and Mary Chain’s first album of new material in 19 years is like meeting up with an incorrigible old friend. Maybe there are a few more wrinkles and grey hairs but the original spirit is most definitely still there. Fuzzy, distorted guitars and a gallows humour may still predominate but maybe there is now also a certain maturity in the mix. Produced by Youth and featuring vocal contributions from Sky Ferreira, Isobel Campbell, Linda Reid and Bernadette Denning, as well as including a number of tunes that have been previously aired on Jim Reid solo projects, Damage and Joy sounds remarkably coherent and is a triumphant return to the fray.

There is always a slight feeling of anxiety when favourite bands get back together and, given the Fighting Reid Brothers’ long-standing assertions that it was never going to happen, playing Damage and Joy for the first time is no different. However, by kicking off with waves of distorted guitar and the tambourine and drum machine-driven “Amputation”, the Mary Chain grab things by the scruff of the neck straightaway. Damage and Joy is no one-note wonder though, and sweet duets like “Always Sad” and “The Two of Us” and the down tempo “Loz Feliz” add plenty of variety to the proceedings. Nevertheless, it is the scuzzy rock’n’roll of tracks like “Facing up to the Facts” and “Get on Home” where Jim declares “I spent a night with a blow-up girl and some LSD”, that make it crystal clear that the band have hit the ground running and have a good deal more than paying the bills in mind.

Rock’n’roll reunions can be tricky, even without a history of sibling rivalry, but Damage and Joy is a good deal more than might be reasonably have been hoped for from a Mary Chain that is thankfully not growing old too gracefully.

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