THE JESUS AND MARY CHAIN: Honey’s Dead.

20 08 2016

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“I can’t get enough of you
God gave me strength and I gave it to you
I’ve got sticks in my spine but what can I do
I can never never never get enough of you.”

 

I’m probably a rubbish fan of The Jesus And Mary Chain because for as long as I can remember, Darklands and Psychocandy have been the two records I have constantly played and always related to. The amount of sentimental value I hold towards those two records is beyond an explanation. There’s one person who understands it, and will only ever understand it. I don’t know what I would do without those two records, and them. However, there is obviously more to TJAMC than just these two records- I own them, I just never gave them as much attention as I should. I’m going to start with Honey’s Dead.

Honey’s Dead opens with Reverence, a song that held a wealth of controversy in it due to its lyrics. If you’re searching to be offended, you’ll be offended. Sure the lyrics are dark but you’re not going to get sunshine and rainbows with TJAMC are you? I wouldn’t want to ever hear that, from anyone. Their songs like Nick Cave, touched on themes of lust and love in a way I want to hear and can relate to regardless of how brooding and heavy it may sound. The title of the record references the end of the sound they were known for previously, but I’ve learnt from each record is that they all sound completely different. I always toy with what my favourite record by them is, and right now I’m in favour of Darklands. Tomorrow it could easily be Honey’s Dead. I love the artwork to Honey’s Dead and how beautifully morose the front cover is. Even if I wasn’t aware of TJAMC the cover alone would lure me in.

I love the way Jim conveys such desperation and pleading in his voice in a lot of the songs. It’s done in a way that not many can do without sounding so clingy and overbearing. He does it in a way that releases this sense of pain that smacks you right in the gut. At times it overwhelms you because of how strong and intense it is, but nothing else can come close to it. I picked this up especially on Reverence and Teenage Lust.

There are a couple of songs on Honey’s Dead that have the same sentimental value to me as the likes of You Trip Me Up and April Skies have. Good For My Soul and I Can’t Get Enough are the kind of love songs I can relate to, and fully appreciate. The lyrics to both are extremely open and show this vulnerable side to the band that I have always adored, and I think that’s what drew my to them in the first place. Honey’s Dead is not that much of heavy record, but the weight is in the vocals and to an extent maybe that could be said for their previous records. It’s not what you say, but how you say it. Or so they say.  Besides, I just find this from Good For Soul to be one of the most beautiful lines I’ve ever heard: “She can take the world on another journey into her soul.” When you adore someone greatly, you’ll see yourself in this song.

Sundown is one of those songs you play when everything seems a bit wrong and tormented. The sorrow in William’s voice is heavy and easy to empathise with, and it will make you want to leave where you are in the search of something better for your soul. Sooner or later, we are pushed to do so. Maybe it isn’t so much about having guts but enough patience to see it through. It’s the longest song on Honey’s Dead and I find it to be the one I like to hit repeat on before I carry on with the remainder of the record.

There’s a handful of bands I love that I thought I always had a solid favourite song and record by, and I always thought that The Jesus And Mary Chain were one of them. But after delving into Honey’s Dead more, I’ve realised it isn’t the case/ Maybe I’ll never be able to choose, maybe I don’t even need to. I’m content with them being one of the most important bands to me and a band that have been a massive lifeline for me.





THE JESUS AND MARY CHAIN- Psychocandy Shows.

25 11 2014

“But you break me in two
And you throw me away
And you spit on my head
You trip me up.”

After spending more money on gig tickets, travel and accommodation – it is with a slight bout of deafness and sheer joy that I can say, I have finally seen The Jesus And Mary Chain live. Twice. In the space of a few days. Not sure how I am not totally deaf, but it’s fine. It is an excuse to not listen to anyone (not like I do anyway.)

I don’t want to turn this into a comparison of Manchester vs London. I’m siding with London because I was at the front, I can’t hear and the venue was a lot nicer. The Troxy is one of the most stunning venues I’ve ever been to. I’m usually a fan of venues that look like they’re about to fall down and are the size of a shed, but I like to make an exception. Instead, I’ll just go on about how TJAMC are one of the best bands I have seen live, finally.

I knew it was going to be loud. I knew it was going to feel like my ears were going to burst and bleed. I wouldn’t have bought tickets if I wasn’t alright with that. The crowds at both nights (and I’d imagine for most dates/all) consisted mainly of middle-aged men having the time of their lives. Some crying onto their best friend’s shoulders, most shouting the words back at Jim as if he’s some modern-day Messiah (he probably is, let’s be honest.) For me, it felt like a Morrissey show but with a bit more bite. How these guys react to TJAMC is how grown men are at a Morrissey show, without the stage invasion. There is something beautiful about seeing this. TJAMC appeal to those who are awkward, unsure but carry the weight of daily feelings like no other. They are for those who do not mind the darker side of having emotions, what they do mind is being told how to offload it all. How do you offload it? You stick on TJAMC and you think of someone or something that is really eating you. This is how you come alive.

I wasn’t even a mere thought before Psychocandy came out (I was born a year and one week later, always late.) but it has become one record that I quite simply, cannot live without. Is it a bold statement? Is it foolish? There a few thousand from over the past week or so who will probably agree with me. United. It’s a record that means more to me than anything else I’ve ever heard. I’ve felt every ugly and passionate feeling Jim sings on that record, and fuck me I am not ashamed. I’m sort of proud that I am able to relate to such a remarkable record. See, I just can’t live without it. To see it live in its entirety was something no part of me ever thought I would see. I never ever thought I would see TJAMC live, ever. I have a tendency to like bands that have most members dead or they hate each other. Sometimes both. Thank you Jim and William for getting your shit together.

I expected nothing from the shows, all I cared about was seeing TJAMC. The excitement I had was probably borderline irritating, I don’t care. If you get the chance to see your favourite band in the whole wide world live, go. Just go. I don’t care how you fund it, just go. Treat yourself. You need to.

There was an atmosphere at both shows that I sincerely hope was at all of them. It was a mixture of relief, absolute happiness and shock that it was about to happen. I know this isn’t a live review, all it is is something unleashing how it feels to see their favourite band of all time live. Finally. There was nothing wrong with these shows, every element of it was perfect. Last night, William played a bum note during a song and Jim just turned to him as if to say, “typical” shook his head and grinned. William was like the mad scientist surrounded with amps and pedals. Jim was every bit the brilliant frontman I knew he was. There was no need for painful conversation between songs. I’m not a fan of that. And I don’t think they are either.

Seeing You Trip Me Up and My Little Underground live meant more to me than I thought they would. Those songs hold more sentimental value to me than a song probably should. More than I want them to, but seeing it all live was like a release. A sigh of relief, yet I didn’t want it to end. TJAMC have been missed, so dearly missed. I hope they never leave us again because we needed it. Live music needs bands like them. Being brutally loud and not apologising for making you feel as if your ears are bleeding. If I don’t get injured or go a little deaf at a gig, I probably didn’t have a good time.

TJAMC’s music is the polar opposite to me, sound wise. They are brutal, somewhat sinister and loud. I’m too shy for my own good, but I’m alright with clinging onto that. Psychocandy is a release of all sorts, and to finally see it live goes beyond the words I have written.

They opened with April Skies. A song I thought would be too much for me to witness, but my god it was beautiful. To just watch that over and over would be something else. Maybe they’ll do a tour for Darklands…that’d be nice. There is no doubt in my mind that TJAMC are the best band, ever. How Jim Reid feels about the Velvet Underground is how I feel about them. Ultimately I do feel the same about the Velvet Underground, obviously. I think that’s quite clear. One of the true special moments last night was Miki Berenyi joining them on Just Like Honey. Oh, and Kevin Shields was sat upstairs too. Shoegaze heaven.

The shows I went to were euphoric and loud. Seeing middle-aged men take their partners with them as if to say, “This has been me for the past 30 years, this is who I am” was just beautiful. The songs are as important as they always were, much like the band.

VIVA THE JESUS AND MARY CHAIN!





THE JESUS AND MARY CHAIN-Darklands.

31 10 2014

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“Talking fast on the edge of nothing
I would break my back for you.”

It’s hard to pick a favourite album/song by your favourite band, because you love them so much it just seems impossible. It’s also a really good excuse to just sit and listen to them constantly. I’ve always been sure of my favourite record of all time, but song I struggle with. I can change my mind instantly. Just when I think I know, I’m reminded of something else. I would write about Psychocandy but I’m saving that for 18th November (2 days before I finally see TJAMC live.)

Last night I worked out how much money I’ve spent on November’s Psychocandy shows. I’m not ashamed or anything like that. Whatever money I have left over goes on something music related, so I might as well spend it on something that is as special as these upcoming shows. I was going 3 times, but one of the London dates clashes with something else. I think I’ve found a good home for my ticket. So it’s just one London and one Manchester date. If I had more money I would have gone to Glasgow, pretty sure those shows will be the most and probably most special.

Anyway, this isn’t about Psychocandy.

I’ve been listening to Darklands a lot recently, and I realised the worth and meaning of the lyrics on that record to me. They are equally as impressive and as moving as those on Psychocandy but with a lot less reverb. In short, you can hear Jim and William’s voices clearly. I do miss the sheer noise and brutality that’s all over Psychocandy. The lyrics are vulnerable on Psychocandy, but Darklands has that. Maybe it has it more, I can’t make that call. All I know is that it is a brilliant second record.

April Skies is the one song by TJAMC that hits harder than the rest. All the significance it has to me is way too personal to even try write down, and if I tried I would just sound really stupid. You don’t need to read it and I don’t think I need to be so open. There’s just no need. But I can appreciate the lyrics with slight distance from what it means to me. April Skies has one of my favourite lines of all time, and a line that just sums up why I love the song so much. You know what it’s like, you hear a song and you’re convinced it was written for you, for a certain point in your life that will always smack you in the face when you listen to it. The line: “I take my aim and I fake my words. I’m just your long time curse” I adore that line to the point where I would happily have it tattooed on me. Although I probably wouldn’t be up for discussing why that line. Their lyrics was always the reason as to why I became a fan of The Jesus And Mary Chain. I really can’t remember anything else. I don’t know how old I was, where I was or why it happened. Sometimes you just don’t need to know. Maybe I was just another lost soul who got saved by a band. For better and for worse, The Jesus And Mary Chain have been my “go-to” band. It’s not always Morrissey you know! (Usually is, but shush.) There’s another line from the song towards the end that’s really important but it’ll just end up turning into a piece about April Skies, and I don’t think I have the words for that.

Darklands I feel is massively underrated in some respects. Sometimes a band/singers second record is always shadowed by just how phenomenal their first one is, but TJAMC managed to create something different but equally as important. All of their records are important, but I’m starting to hear things in Darklands that I’ve not heard before. I really paid attention to just how beautiful and brilliantly romantic About You is. It is a gorgeous love song that anyone should be honoured to be thought of when hearing this. TJAMC wrote some of the best love songs ever. They’re the best because they aren’t typical, they are sickly love songs that make you want to puke up your breakfast. Those kind don’t sit well with me at all, they make me feel uneasy. They don’t feel real and they don’t sound heartfelt. TJAMC put it all into their music, and the lyrics are evidence of that. They wrote the kind of songs I wish I could.

Nine Million Rainy Days is such a sombre song. If you read the lyrics it reads like some old Gothic love poem from way back when. It brings up these ideals and nightmares in your head. You remember the things you maybe should have forgotten. But you cling, because that’s just the kind of person you are. There’s really no shame in it. “And all my time in Hell was spent with you.” It’s just a stunning and brutally honest line.

There is that underlying dark and less obvious brutal sound to Darklands but everything about it is so open. The lyrics are gentle and the way they are sung just makes them hit your gut harder and quicker than most. Their lust/love driven songs are so easy to relate to, or maybe it is just how my brain is wired. It is the perfect record to follow Psychocandy. I can’t imagine my life without these two records, I really can’t. I once found a few 7″ singles from Darklands in a market and just bought them all. They were about £2 each, I think I gave one away- for sentimental reasons, obviously. Always the way. Darklands is a record to lose everything to, mentally. Physically, you lose it to Psychocandy but mentally it has to be to Darklands. Maybe they’ll do a 30 year anniversary tour for that too, hopefully.

I love the lyrics to all the songs and how they all seem to have that darker side of love flowing through them. You do everything for one, and for what exactly? It’s alright because look at the songs that come from it. It can be unrequited, it can be a pain in the arse, it can abandon you, it can be there in ways you weren’t sure of- but it is there. Darklands is just one of those records that when you listen to it, for days and days it will be the only thing you listen to. I’m not sure how many times I’ve played it recently but each time feels like the first time I ever heard it. I’ll never love a band as much as I love TJAMC, they are my one and only. There is something about them that just means more than most, and I’m pretty sure Darklands fully justifies why.