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The Jesus & Mary Chain – Psychocandy (1985)

September 10, 2019

[Album 668/1001]

The obligatory High Fidelity introduction…

Barry: Every other Echo and the Bunnymen album
Customer : Yeah I have all the other ones.
Barry : Oh, you do? Well, how about the Jesus and Mary Chain?
Customer : They always seemed –
Barry : They always seemed what? They always seemed really great is what they always seemed. They picked up where your precious Echo left off and you’re sitting around complaining about no more Echo albums. I can’t believe you don’t own this fucking record.

.

.

To Barry (Jack Black’s character)’s dismay, I do not own Psychocandy on vinyl.

But I do have the (curse word) tape!

And last week, I thoroughly enjoyed Echo & The Bunnymen’s Ocean Rain, their most recent album on the 1001 list.

So naturally, in lieu of sitting around complaining about no more Echo albums, I thought I’d fact-check Barry’s advice.

.

Seeing as Psychocandy was released the year after Ocean Rain, he’s irrefutably correct in at least one respect; chronologically, this is picking up where my precious Echo left off.

The bigger question is, are they really great?220px-Psychocandy

Or do they just seem that way?

And the answer…depends on if great is the peak, or merely a stepping stone to even greater greatness.

The strongest song here, Sowing Seeds, provides a convenient metaphor.

As I understand it, when you sow a seed, you are starting from scratch (as opposed to the act of planting, which is where you would place an existing flower/plant in the soil).

Seeing as the term & genre of ‘shoegazing’ wouldn’t become commonplace for a few years, Barry’s character makes a valid point: this debut album / eventual genre-inspiring recording would seem great in 1985.

There’s something special about the albums that set the bar, that pave the way, that sow the seeds for the acts that follow. Or closer to home for The Jesus & Mary Chain, for their own albums that followed.

Darklands is also on the 1001 list (and I also have it on cassette, no biggie!) and I’d argue it’s even stronger than Psychocandy.

Which isn’t to say that Psychocandy isn’t great, as it really seems to me (and Barry) like it is.

It’s just that there were even greater days ahead.

JAMC

…..

Verbalize the Positive

Also from the High Fidelity scene, thanks to my dad, fortunately I have a copy of Blonde on Blonde!

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From → 1980s

15 Comments
  1. Those two words will hook me in every time. High and Fidelity.
    But please don’t tell Barry I don’t own any J&MC.
    He wouldn’t hug me and tell me it’s gonna be OK.

    • Not to worry Bruce – as long as you have Blonde on Blonde somewhere in the Vinyl Connection, I think all will be forgiven!

  2. I love this one, it’s such a hot mess. I don’t own it yet, not even on evil cassette.

  3. Nice to see some old worn cassette tapes pictured Geoff! Always a cool thing that when an act releases a very solid album that their next one is ever greater. Sowing the seeds for sure in regards to Jesus!
    Great job as always Sir!

    • Much appreciated Deke – and yes, the tapes were new to me, but I think they were most definitely previously enjoyed!

  4. Cassette? I think I have heard that word before…whatever does it mean??? I think those things are making a comeback because some of our local stores are posting pictures of cassettes they have in the store. Thanskfully they have gone up in price like vinyl as they are still around $2-$3 each.

  5. I give you permission to upgrade those cassettes to a listenable format!

  6. I love the single Just Like Honey (similar to Sowing Seeds) but I never got the fuss over the the rest of Psychocandy. Upside Down is like nails on a chalkboard (!), same with Never Understand. I like the vocals though.

    • I like how ‘nails on a chalkboard’ is typically an expression for something that sounds unpleasant. But with this sort of noise-driven music, it might actually sound like nails scraping against a chalkboard!

  7. I don’t own and Jesus & Mary Chain. I had a couple on CD and may still do, but I haven’t dug them out in a long time. I never really got into this one as much as I wanted to.

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