The Jesus and Mary Chain Glasgow Eyes

The Jesus and Mary Chain – Glasgow Eyes (Fuzz Club)

This year marks forty years since The Jesus and Mary Chain burst out of East Kilbride with their incendiary debut single ‘Upside Down.’ A spectacular blast of noise, the intervening decades have not made it any less cacophonous, nor their lauded debut album Psychocandy, which followed the following year. Yet the thing was that they always had the ability to write killer songs, regardless of how noisy they were or were not, on any given day.

Of course, following an acclaimed debut album will always produce the difficult challenge that if you keep on in the same vein, the appeal will start to fade; conversely, if you try to branch out, you will be accused of losing what made you special in the first place. Impressively, the Mary Chain managed to find a way of bridging the gap over the next ten years before they first split. Into the present day, with their second studio album since they reformed and their eighth in total, they have managed to produce a record that shows Jim and William Reid producing another Mary Chain album, but with new additions to their sound.

In this instance, what’s interesting is the introduction of electronics on this album, and to very different effects. Album opener ‘Venal Joy‘ does not pull any punches, coming on not only like the Mary Chain circa Darklands, but also as if the spirits of both Pere Ubu‘s ‘Non-Alignment Pact‘ and Suicide‘s ‘Ghostrider‘ had entered the recording. The rather cleverly named ‘jamcod‘ (spell it out) evokes Primal Scream circa XTRMNTR with a rather enticing form of menace (the Mary Chain always did do menace rather well). ‘Second Of June‘ by contrast is rather dreamy, and unusually for a JAMC song, it feels like it’s giving you a hug. ‘Girl 71‘ also manages to pull off a similar feat – both tracks a little reminiscent of the album they made in the mid-00s with their younger sister Linda under the name SIster Vanilla.

Sure, ‘Pure Poor‘ is a track that would probably have benefited the album from being left off it, being a bit of a dirge and not in a good way. Meanwhile ‘The Eagles And The Beatles‘ sounds like neither of those bands but instead is a strange confection that at times sounds like if Kraftwerk had gone glam, or if World Party had decided to cover Psychic TV‘s ‘Godstar‘ (maybe it’s all the Rolling Stones references, or maybe it’s something else), and it probably fits better on this album than any of their previous seven, but is perhaps an… unlikely Mary Chain track.

Yet there is still so much to be excited about here. No doubt repeated further playings will reveal other charms within this album, but even on a first play this is overall a very strong album, with a lot of different ideas, and most importantly, showing that they can still come up with the songs.


God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.