There are many genres that comprise modern ‘indie’ rock, and The Jesus and Mary Chain were at the forefront of several movements when they began making music in the early 1980’s in Scotland. Post-glam rock but pre-grunge/alt, they occupied a niche for out-of-the-mainstream music fans during a time when music became commercialized through new media, remaining relevant through word-of-mouth and the occasional movie soundtrack. The impact of the band can be felt in what we consider ‘indie’ rock today, in the lyrics of two current torch-bearers: Death Cab for Cutie and The Shins.
The JAMC just put a new album out last week, and I can’t stop listening to it. Damage and Joy is the 7th studio album from the Reid brothers, and the first in nearly 20 years (since 1998’s Munki) The sound is a throwback to the 70’s glam of T-Rex and The Stooges, with a slightly more polished production. The psychedelia remains, though, with feedback often scraping through the swirling reverb of the guitars. The biggest difference in 2017 is that singer Jim Reid’s lazy drawl is often undistorted and in the forefront of the mix, a welcome effect most evident in the album’s several duets with female vocalists such as Isobel Campbell and Sky Ferreira (featured below on “Black and Blues”)
If you liked the old stuff, I think you’ll be pleased with their latest offering. I won’t go as far as to say ‘instant classic’ but this collection of new tunes fits right in alongside the band’s catalog from decades past.