The Jesus and Mary Chain’s landmark 1985 album Psychocandy turns 30 years old today.
Does this news takes you back to your own mid-’80s days as a sneering, black leather jacket-clad teenager? Does it set your mind adrift to that dark movie theater where you sat in 2003 realizing that Sofia Coppola possessed the power to make you feel at least 10% cooler by sheer proximity to her film and the soundtrack choices therewithin? Or does it take you back to literally any other place and time? Whenever/wherever it was you first heard that iconic Phil Spector “Be My Baby” drum pattern gleefully annihilated by the most gorgeously unholy alliance of guitar feedback, distortion, and perfect pop melody – chances are you were never the same after.
Psychocandy remains one of the most assured, game changing debut albums ever produced. Brothers Jim and William Reid, the core members of the JAMC, knew exactly how it was supposed to sound years before they ever wrote a single song, let alone made their way into a studio. When they did finally get there, they were given free rein by engineer John Loder despite the fact that they admitted to not really knowing what they were doing, technically speaking. By that regard, it’s almost as if this record were pre-destined somehow. Here was this perfect sound channeled through two brothers from East Kilbride, Scotland who were each so reluctant to be the lead singer of their inevitable group that Jim ended up taking on the role only after losing a coin toss. This sound had to exist though, and it had to exist through them. Psychocandy has in some way touched almost every generation and faction of indie music that followed it; whether it be within the deeper explorations of the noise to beauty ratio offered up by the Shoegazers, or just about every other subsequent indie band’s eagerness to mine the pop songs of yore (including those of the JAMC themselves).
The Jesus and Mary Chain have been on an extensive tour over the past year, playing Psychocandy in it’s entirety, just another testament to it’s tremendous staying power. There are also whispers that the Brothers Reid might be on the verge of recording a new album. Apparently songs have been written. This would be their seventh record overall, and the first to be recorded during this millennium (their last studio album was 1998’s Munki). As we send up all of the thoughts, prayers, and vibes for this news to be true, let’s also take a moment to fully honor Psychocandy on this, it’s most special of days. Side one, track one… take it away!