Jesus And Mary Chain Go Back To The Vaults For A Postively “Negative” Outcome

The only time I saw the Jesus and Mary Chain, maybe ’93, the opening act was Mazzy Star.  While the romance between Jim Reid and Mazzy’s Hope Sandoval led to the interestingly soft-core Stoned and Dethroned album, the more interesting marriage may have been between Mazzy guitarist David Roback and Chain guitarist William Reid.  I’m not such a big fan of the fuzztone signatures from the Psychocandy early days, and while I love the danceclub hardrock of the middle years, it’s that Velvets sound the Chain had in common with Mazzy Star that I’ve always liked the most.

Comes The Power of Negative Thinking, the Jesus and Mary Chain’s new 4,000 song compilation of crumbs and wholly baked pies heretofore available only as B-Sides or on boots, and the full scope of one the ’90s greatest bands comes clear.  Yeah, you’ve got the fuzz-based rock which blended the Beach Boys and Ramones in puree of pure noise (these days preserved in Iceland as Singapore Sling…) You’ve got the propulsive punkrock powered by the drum machine, or a human playing like a drum machine (Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, your royalty check to the Bank of Scotland is due.)  And then there are these softer gems in which the Jesus and Mary Chain genuflect at the altar of the Velvet Underground.

Naturally, some of the best songs can only be gotten downloading the whole 9,000 song compilation for a round $6 million, but go try out “Shimmer” and see if it doesn’t roust Sterling Morrison from his resting place.  If you don’t want to download all 9,636 songs, available for 11 million Euros, go check out the Bo Diddley homage, interestingly titled “Bo Diddley Is Jesus.”  If you don’t have a Swiss bank account, take your 99 cents and check out the softer version of “Psychocandy” here, in which the fuzz was scraped off by a merciful scythe. 

The Reids may have dissolved like the warring Kinks did, may have busted up the way someday the Brothers Gallagher of Oasis will, but as it happened The Jesus and Mary Chain went out on a musical high note.  Munki was mysterious and straight ahead at the same time, and in classic vaudeville form, it left us want something more.  They’ve come back for festival shows and they keep threatening to put out a new album.  If, like me, you grokked on what they were doing in that period of great ferment between about ’93 and ’98, fork over the $39.00 it costs to get the whole download of 82 songs.  The Power of Negative Thinking has a lot of positives, from the Roky Erickson covers to alternatakes of their hits.  I counted out 33 songs on the playlist I culled from the whole thing.  That makes this vast trove a bargain.

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