Friday, August 7, 2015

Jesus and Mary Chain - Live At Barrowlands

The Jesus and Mary Chain are one of my all-time favorite bands.  The Glasgow band's discography includes six LPs recorded between 1984 and 1998, and over a dozen compilations.  But their most talked about album, and the one that deservedly made them a band to watch, was their 1984 debut Psychocandy.  Over its 14 songs the combustible William and James Reid dished out their vision, comprised of  elements of Phil Spector's wall of sound, The Beach Boys, and The Velvet Underground.  Only in their case, the wall of sound arrived via the power of the guitar amps and, at times, a tidal wave of distortion.  For those of us that loved it, it was the perfect package of rebellion and pop music.  It wasn't anti-commercial -- the lads wanted to make it big and in my opinion deserved to make it big -- but it was uncompromising.

Three decades after arriving on the pop music scene, the Brothers Reid and some talented players gathered at Glasgow's venerable Barrowlands to play Psychocandy in its entirety.  The resulting Live At Barrowlands contains the entire performance of the original album, as well as the additional songs the band played that evening, including "April Skies", "Head On" and "Some Candy Talking".  For a live album, the sound mix is remarkably good, and three decades on the band still brings the heat and the melody.  Of course, if you were only to own one album from The Jesus and Mary Chain, it wouldn't be this one (likely unusually, for me it would be The Power of Positive Thinking, a B-sides, demos and rarities compilation).  But if don't already own at least some of the band's music, you aren't likely to still be reading this.  If you are a fan of the band, however, this album is a treasure, and not just for nostalgic reasons.  The performance that night has all the vitality and immediacy of a band in their prime.  Is was fiery and masterful, and give many fans the opportunity to experience a live-recorded performance from a band that you may never have been able to see live, and in any case didn't see a performance with this set of music.  For fans of the band, this is a necessary addition to your music library.

The album is available in CD, 2-LP vinyl and digital formats from Demon Music Group.

Album trailer:

Demon Music Group

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