12 Songs, 43 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The Jesus & Mary Chain are kings of sing-song power dirges. While 1989’s Automatic (their third) doesn’t kick like the band’s debut, it further streamlines their rainy-day aesthetic and toxic revelries into finely crafted pop. The walls of smelted guitars (backed by a drum machine and keyboard bass) on the pumping “Here Comes Alice” set a tone that only slightly wavers throughout. “Head On” maxes out on both New Order and The Velvet Underground, and “Sunray” is tortured spazz-rock techno. Going bonkers is never as fun as it is on “Half Way to Crazy” nor as dirty as on “Her Way of Praying.” Whether they were being outright ironic or turning vexing addictions into finely wrought anthems, like Lou Reed had done years before, this Scottish band (really only brothers William and Jim Reid) wrapped junked-up riffs around big hearts, and you can tell they truly believed in rock ’n’ roll. When William croons “You got the shakes/You know it’s gonna get worse/Don’t you know it’s all part of the curse,” you can tell it’s experience talking.

EDITORS’ NOTES

The Jesus & Mary Chain are kings of sing-song power dirges. While 1989’s Automatic (their third) doesn’t kick like the band’s debut, it further streamlines their rainy-day aesthetic and toxic revelries into finely crafted pop. The walls of smelted guitars (backed by a drum machine and keyboard bass) on the pumping “Here Comes Alice” set a tone that only slightly wavers throughout. “Head On” maxes out on both New Order and The Velvet Underground, and “Sunray” is tortured spazz-rock techno. Going bonkers is never as fun as it is on “Half Way to Crazy” nor as dirty as on “Her Way of Praying.” Whether they were being outright ironic or turning vexing addictions into finely wrought anthems, like Lou Reed had done years before, this Scottish band (really only brothers William and Jim Reid) wrapped junked-up riffs around big hearts, and you can tell they truly believed in rock ’n’ roll. When William croons “You got the shakes/You know it’s gonna get worse/Don’t you know it’s all part of the curse,” you can tell it’s experience talking.

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