Fronted by the Reid brothers Jim and William, The Jesus And Mary Chain first reformed to play the Coachella festival back in 2007. Despite regular touring – most notably a 2015 world tour which revisited their landmark album ‘Psychocandy’ – it took some time before they could agree on a plan to record a much-mooted seventh album.
“We started to – can you believe? – listen to each other a bit more,” explains Jim. “In the last couple of years, we’ve buried the hatchet to some degree, and thankfully not into each other. Most people who know us would say that we haven’t mellowed that much. I think it was to do with the fact, dare I say it, that wisdom comes with age. Let’s live and let live, and let’s take each other’s opinions into account.”
Work on ‘Damage and Joy’ (a reference to the English translation of schadenfreude) began in September 2015, with producer Youth also contributing bass and diplomacy to proceedings during sessions in London, Dublin and Granada, Spain. Alan McGee first confirmed that a new JAMC album was on the way by telling Canada’s CBC Music: “They’ve made another album! It’s a big deal! It’s kinda enormous.”
The album commences with ‘Amputation’, in which waves of distorted guitar and Jim’s insouciant vocal delivery collide to create a hypnotic track which addresses his feelings of “being edited out of the whole music business… I felt like a rock ‘n’ roll amputation.” The track is available now.
Other highlights include a refined and re-energised new version of ‘All Things Must Pass’ which previously featured in the TV show ‘Heroes’ and then on ‘Upside Down: The Best of The Jesus and Mary Chain’; the raw garage-rock of ‘Facing Up To The Facts’ which offers the revealing lyric: “I hate my brother and he hates me / That’s the way it’s supposed to be”’; and the jagged power-pop that simmers in ‘The Two of Us’.
The album also features performances from the band’s touring drummer Brian Young as well as former Lush bassist Phil King.
“The interesting thing about this record is what comes out of the speakers,” declares Jim. “To make a good record is an achievement if you’re twenty-two, but to do it in your fifties, the way we are, I think is a minor miracle.”
The touring line-up is completed by Scott Von Ryper (guitar), Mark Crozer (bass) and Brian Young (drums).
25th March – Manchester, Academy