Monday, January 24, 2011

The Jesus And Mary Chain - Upside Down

And so to the almightily blasted bastardry & biker-jacketed, black-hair/eye/heart balladry of the Reids on this colossal career retrospective that kicks the previous 21 SINGLES & that rip-off box-set into several back alleys with a mere sneer (despite lacking Bo Diddley Is Jesus, Little Red Rooster and Everything Is Alright When You're Down). From the first tumultuous tirade of the arrestable angst that is the title track to the last (so far...) recording of All Things Must Pass these 44 tracks shall always contain so many essential life-affirming monuments it's almost unspeakable. Forget the aging headlines that they ailed after the famously feedback-spattered PSYCHOCANDY, the Mary Chain, besides a few falterings, have been unfailingly fascinating throughout. Shorn of the noise that only the cloth-eared fixated on, DARKLANDS is a far better set of doomed paroxysms & wistfully insistent stoicism (Nine Million Rainy Days). Even the slight addled dips on AUTOMATIC & HONEY'S DEAD they're ever a fearsome and dumbfoundingly poignant act amidst the petulance (case in point the wonderful collision of Jim's I Love Rock'n'Roll tussling with William's explosive vitriol on I Hate Rock'n'Roll) right up to closing shot MUNKI. A marvellous morass of buckled pop & brokedown dirges (Mo Tucker vs Black here). Undoubtedly one of the most bypassed records ever (and yes, up there like The 13th Floor Elevators several years ago) that surpasses it's own predecessor STONED & DETHRONED in such stakes. The latter being a lovely album of lilting hazy ballads with guest collaborations included here with Hope Sandoval on Sometimes Always and Shane MacGowan on God Help Me.
Climb through this litter of classic crestfallen seizure's on 7" like April Skies, Happy When It Rains, Sidewalking, Cracking Up, Darklands, Just Like Honey, Some Candy Talking and see the list really is endless, alongwith their knack of incomprehensibe, just about unsurpassed ability not to put the extra 'e' in b-sides (Kill Surf City) as well as choice covers (Leonard Cohen's Tower Of Strength, Syd Barrett's Vegetable Man). For goodness, the good son & his bedevilled progeny's sake they even manage to make the dreary Sweet Jane great on Halfway To Crazy. Genius. So stop reading this back to front upside down all cells akimbo excuse for a review & wallow blissfully. Unbiasedly of couse.
Reverence indeed. They may have been lampooned for the Candy/Cindy/Cherry triumvirate but did those that did ever mean anything? A band that can still save your lives. While cutting you dead with an incidental lyric (see Happy When It Rains' 'Look at me enjoying something' & try not to slobber) or levitating you on a one chord mushroom cloud.
Stu Gibson

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