The Jesus and Mary Chain
Damage and Joy


3.0
good

Review

by butcherboy USER (123 Reviews)
March 21st, 2017 | 51 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Stuck between Old Beaten Hand and Plain Ol' Beaten...

All things move along according to hierarchy. It was inescapable after 80’s and 90’s chart mammoths first fell headfirst into reunion-mania, that relatively smaller critical darlings of the eras would soon hop onto the bandwagon. Admittedly, there’s less fanfare or expectation going around for a new Jesus and Mary Chain record nowadays than say, the Pixies or Depeche Mode. But it is a chance for plenty of people to dust off a crate of nostalgic vinyl, not to mention another household name kicking around on the summer festival circuit is sure to bump up sales from age groups that can actually comfortably afford tickets and hotels.

There are foreseeable extremes in the recent glut of reunion albums being pumped out with the steadiness of a piston on an up-stroke. Dinosaur Jr. may not have ever gone away, but their output since getting Lou Barlow back into the fold has ran the gamut of great to very solid. And the cluster-*** of new material that Guided by Voices put forth in the four years that Tobin Sprout spent re-imploding with them has had plenty of genuinely thrilling moments of that old magical amalgamate. These instances stand as the zenith of what a reunion could be. On the obverse of that sit formerly-untouchable kingpins like Soundgarden, or the Pixies, whose ill-informed “Indie Cindy” may very well go down in history as the greatest self-smear campaign of all time. Even Jesus and Mary Chain former 80’s cohorts Mazzy Star have already gone through the motions, releasing a comeback collection of familiar dreampop, before more or less fading back into the ether.

Mind you, the Jesus and Mary Chain aren’t exactly recently reconciled. The band has been touring semi-steadily since 2007, and since that time, they’d already covered all the bases of a prolonged reunion stint. A new single in 2008, box sets and remasters and B-side compilations, and a Greatest Hits pack on top. An album of new material was naturally the next box to tick.

There is something to be said for 80’s acts who’d either vanished or carried on through the next three decades. Bands like Mudhoney and Pearl Jam haven’t stopped touring or writing since their first induction, and even if their recent crop of work is spotty at best, it at least projects a band that is attempting to if not find new relevance, then at least age gracefully together. And in the case of Sonic Youth and PJ Harvey, you can find ones who've succeeded at doing so. More importantly, what it doesn’t feel like is a sentimental act taking a neutered stab at siphoning a bit of cash and regard while the reunion train’s got steam left.

As for the music itself, it is as adequate as it is indifferent. The two singles the band had released before the album, “Amputation” and “Always Sad,” cover the entirety of the range they tackle here; the first, hazy mid-tempo pop underlined by half-propelled guitars and synth, the other a jangly lovelorn ditty that seems ripped straight out of an hoary Gen-X movie. Songs that do feel more compelling like “Mood Rider” have been around since the band’s split, and regularly played on tour by William Reid. But even they feel slightly off, either too stiff or too flimsy, and in the case of “Simian Split,” cluttered and empty at the same time. It all blends seamlessly into the sequence of albums the band put out at the turn of the century, making it all the easier to forget just how dissonant and stirring and immediate their first few records were. This is not the melancholic abandon of “Darklands,” nor the thick curtain of industrialized squeal of “Psychocandy.” In fact, everything about this is as inoffensive and domesticated as you would expect from a group of able musicians in their 50’s. It all mirrors almost perfectly the comeback that Swervedriver have already staged; a band that once put electric fury through a sharp-witted prism, and who now seem content enough writing dreamy songs that sound so vaporous, they might spring a leak at any moment.

Listening to “Damage and Joy” is like bumping into a friend you hadn’t seen since college. He’s got a beer gut and stroller calluses on his hands, and he talks more about refinancing real estate than beer and pussy now. But just being there with him is enough to send you down a wistful lane.

This album was always going to be a 3. This band is too competent to put out anything less. Too tired to do better.



Recent reviews by this author
Julius Eastman Unjust MalaiseAcoustic Ladyland Skinny Grin
Bahamadia KollageDNA A Taste of DNA
Neon Boys That's All I Know (Right Now)/Love Comes In SpurtsThe Fall Slates
user ratings (80)
Chart.
3.1
good


Comments:Add a Comment 
SandwichBubble
March 21st 2017


9549 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Wait this is out already? Cancel my appointments~

butcherboy
March 21st 2017


9464 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

it leaked on a russian torrent forum in FLAC.. spent all day listening to it.. and forgetting.. haha

Tyler.
March 21st 2017


16688 Comments


What Sixdegrees said

SandwichBubble
March 21st 2017


9549 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

All I can hope for is that I like it better than Munki

AngryLittleAlchemist
March 21st 2017


1999 Comments


[3] six said yeah

Divaman
March 21st 2017


3472 Comments


Nice. Glad you reviewed this one.

Digging: Kakkmaddafakka - Diplomacy

Jasdevi087
March 21st 2017


5490 Comments


honestly could not be less excited about this

butcherboy
March 21st 2017


9464 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

can't blame anyone for not giving a shit about this album.. i love their first few records, wanted to review this..

TheSpaceMan
March 21st 2017


11918 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

love the album art will check

AngryLittleAlchemist
March 21st 2017


1999 Comments


pretty bad album art yea

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
March 22nd 2017


4753 Comments


Listened to half of the album and it's okay-ish. Didn't have any expectations tbh.

Digging: Fennesz - Agora

eddie95
March 22nd 2017


703 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

It's an okay album, there are some catchy songs in it but nothing too fancy. Wasn't expecting much from it anyway

Sabrutin
March 22nd 2017


5997 Comments


Will most likely check when it's released in two days

brandontaylor
March 23rd 2017


793 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

really enjoy that last little paragraph, probably sums up my feelings too but i'll give another listen or two before i rate

JWT155
March 27th 2017


14355 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Count me as impressed, this has exceeded my expectations.

Robbyrne
March 28th 2017


11 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Ditto. Really impressed by this. One of my favs of the the year so far.

TVC15
March 28th 2017


9933 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Huh. Had no idea this already dropped

theBoneyKing
March 28th 2017


16328 Comments


That's why I've been listening to them TVC!
It doesn't seem to be getting much press though so I understand.

zakalwe
March 29th 2017


27073 Comments


This is great. They've been missed to the point where it seems like they're the ones copying every 'rock n roll' band of the past 30yrs.
The chain show the clones how it should be done though.

theBoneyKing
March 29th 2017


16328 Comments


Gonna finish up their earlier stuff before I go for this, hopefully I enjoy it. Honey's Dead is my favorite from them so far.



You have to be logged in to post a comment. Login | Create a Profile





STAFF & CONTRIBUTORS // SITE FORUM // CONTACT US

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Site Copyright 2005-2017 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy