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September 2020 (Arlo Parks)
Review

The Jesus and Mary Chain - Damage and Joy

As grouchy, scuzzy and contrary as ever.
The Jesus and Mary Chain - Damage and Joy
Published: 1:56 pm, March 24, 2017
As grouchy, scuzzy and contrary as ever.

Label: ADA / Warner Music
Released: 24th March 2017
Rating: ★★★★

The more things change the more things stay the same. It’s now almost twenty years since the notoriously combustible Reid brothers who make up legendary indie noise pop icons The Jesus and Mary Chain released an album. Nothing much has changed though in the world of the Mary Chain, and ‘Damage and Joy’ sees them just as grouchy, scuzzy and contrary as ever. Everything is just the same. The guitars are there, the voice is there, the attitude is there and, most importantly, the songs are there.

The Mary Chain were always a pop band. They worshipped 60s pop and Brian Wilson and that shone through no matter how deep and dark their music got. Here, they remind us of that on the glorious rocker ‘Always Sad’, a duet with guest vocalist Bernadette Denning, who pops up throughout the record as a nice counterpart to Jim Reid’s languid vocals.

The band like to revel in misery and find celebration in chaos. Both Reid brothers seem to have finally come to terms with their differences and the result is a remarkably coherent and consistent record. As Jim Reid brilliantly puts it on ‘Facing Up To The Facts’, “I hate my brother and he hates me/That’s the way it’s supposed to be.”

With everything right in the world of the Mary Chain the brothers have finally come good following their original reunion way back in 2009. They could have tried to reconfigure the band to fit in with changing times and different attitudes but no, as they’ve always done they’ve carried on their own merry strung out way. In its familiarity, ‘Damage and Joy’ is both comforting and celebratory. A triumph. Martyn Young

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