Excerpt From The Von Pip Musical Express:
“How do you decide which is your favourite album, like, ever? What rules or tests apply? Is it really about the music or is it linked to a time in your life you’d dearly wish to revisit? For me it’s a fairly straightforward question, it’s quite simply the album that I have returned to again and again, an album that is still able to console and inspire, and one which while transporting me back through time, still sounds as vibrant and relevant today as it did back in the 80’s. It is, to paraphrase Alan McGee, an album which unlike people, has never let me down and at the time was unlike anything I’d heard before.
Twenty five years ago Scottish brothers William And Jim Reid, the driving forces behind The Jesus And Mary Chain, released their ground breaking full length debut ‘Psychocandy’, mixing beauty with brutality, melody with ear splitting guitar feedback, and gave us an album that is often cited as a seminal moment in 1980’s indie guitar music. It was unleashed at a time when the post punk promise of new wave had all but disappeared up its own arse by way of the fancy dress shop via the cosmetics counter and the only guitar music that existed was a rather fey, self indulgent, limp -wristed affair. The Jesus And Mary Chain exploded onto the scene and were quickly dubbed the new Sex Pistols by some parts of the puritanical press, fuelled in part by mischievous sound bites from their former manager and Creation records owner, Alan Mc Gee, eg. “the audience were not smashing up the hall, they were smashing up pop music” and “this is truly art as terrorism”. The comparison didn’t really fit musically but the Mary Chain certainly put the danger, the snarl and the fuck you attitude back into music, producing a raw and incendiary sound which was light years away from the safe, preening dandified narcissistic nonsense that was the New Romantic movement .
The music of The Jesus and Mary Chain has been a constant presence in my world since their first single and ‘Psychocandy’ is an album that never ceases to astonish me. It was and still is, a beautiful contradiction; light-years ahead of it’s time, yet heavily influenced by the past, visceral and savage yet on occasion surprisingly fragile. A rip roaring sonic soundclash that tore up the rule book and injected some much needed good old fashioned rock and roll rebellion into a sanitised music scene populated by the sort of squeaky clean singers your parents actually approved of. There are still those who paint The Jesus and Mary Chain as sonic nihilists, nothing more than NME hyped hipsters, more style than content, a music journalist’s wet dream, and whilst people who subscribe to this view are of course entitled to their opinion, they are also quite clearly cretins. ‘Psychocandy’ proved that the Reid brothers knew their musical history, that they lived and breathed rock n’ roll but demonstrated that they were also savvy enough to recognise that it was a fluid, evolving beast often taking it’s inspiration from the past. They were rabid consumers of pop music but didn’t deify it with pious reverence like some sort of prissy musical librarian; they took influences as diverse as the Ramones, The Beach Boys, The Shangri-las, The Velvets, Johnny Cash, The Stones, Bo-Diddley, The Stooges, The Supremes and fed them through their sonic blender to produce songs of soul shredding power and beauty.
Jim’s laconic vocals which could spit venom and tenderness in equal measure, combined with the distorted, unhinged magnificence of William’s guitar work may have irked the prog rock purists, but this was exactly the sort of adrenaline fuelled musical explosion that makes rock n roll so thrilling and the Reid’s sonic enema was precisely what the soulless, constipated 80’s music scene needed. The Jesus And Mary Chain could be one of the greatest bands you’ve ever seen live, or one of the worst, depending on which gig you happened to catch but this was part of their edgy excitement, this truly was ‘event music’. They inspired so many bands and whilst their influence is still prevalent today it is the eternal conundrum as to why their musical legacy isn’t afforded the respect it undoubtedly deserves in some quarters. Whilst My Bloody Valentines legend (as good as they were) has been elevated by some slick, revisionist PR to absurdly mythic proportions, it seemed that people had all but forgotten the Mary Chain’s body of work, which I would submit is far more enduring than MBV’s. Former Mary Chain drummer and Primal Scream front man Bobby Gillespie addressed this issue recently saying “They were a great band and I don’t think they get enough credit just for being them, for being so good at what they do, and for inspiring the amount of people they inspired.”
If you don’t posses ‘Psychocandy’ then your record collection can never be considered truly complete. Beneath the crackle and distortion you’ll hear wonderful pop songs from a band that refused to compromise their musical vision or be pigeon-holed into any particular genre. They may have dressed in black and wore shades, but were never really goth, they may have employed a wall of sound and kept their stage movements to a minimum but they weren’t really shoegaze, and maybe they were a little too ambitious to be considered truly indie by the snoberatti. Whatever the JAMC where, very few bands intuitively understand the true essence of ‘rock n roll’ as well as the Jesus and Mary Chain, it quite simply, was in their soul.
To celebrate ‘Psychocandy’s’ 25th Anniversary and the release of a new Jesus And Mary Chain compilation ‘Upside Down-The Best Of’ which also ties in with release of a documentary feature film `Upside Down: The Story Of Creation Records’ we spoke to Jim Reid and asked him to cast his mind back to 1985……”
Read the FULL INTERVIEW HERE