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The Jesus And Mary Chain - Glasgow Eyes (Album Review)

Thursday, 28 March 2024 Written by Graeme Marsh

Photo: Steve Gullick

Despite veering from uber cool to directionless, the Jesus & Mary Chain’s eighth album is a more cohesive band effort than its predecessor, 2017’s ‘Damage & Joy’, which was mainly built around pieces the Reid brothers had accumulated individually during the band’s almost decade-long hiatus.

The majority of the very eclectic 'Glasgow Eyes' was recorded at Mogwai’s Castle of Doom studio in the titular city, and being back on home turf apparently eased the creative process, enabling them to be a little braver with experimentation than they have been for some time.

Noted fan Elton John spun its singles on his Apple Music radio show Rocket Hour, but their quality suggests this welcome helping hand wasn’t actually required at all.

Jamcod was the first — opening to tinny, industrial electronica it soon finds a cool groove, coming across like a Moon Duo effort boosted by strategically placed keyboard swirls and bursts of guitar. 

Girl 71 is the most commercial of the three, like a Roxette riff given some JAMC swagger. Best of the lot, though, is the excellent Chemical Animal, which provides a two-note undulating foundation that is then furnished with dark, doomy hipness and more of those atmospheric keys.

In fact, synths and drum machines dominate throughout. Opener Venal Joy has an addictive motorik beat to offset some lyrical cringe (“we can fuck on the table”) while American Born finds another pocket of guitar-bolstered cool. Discotheque's repetitive descending notes and bland vocal delivery, though, do little to fire the imagination.

Thankfully, there are some intriguing curveballs. The funereal trudge of Pure Poor is like Six.by Seven’s Bring Down the Government played at the wrong speed, while the dynamic shifts of closer Hey Lou Reid capture the blissful highs and crushing lows of drug use. 

Second of June adds some pep to the mix, although in reality it’s a little like a watered down Sometimes Always, crying out for Hope Sandoval to recreate one of the finest songs in their career. “I’ve been rolling with the Stones,” runs the chorus of The Eagles and the Beatles, a song that also namechecks Bob Dylan while sounding like Joan Jett’s I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll. 

With so much to sit back and take in, ‘Glasgow Eyes’ in without doubt one of the most entertaining records JAMC have put out. Never sitting still, it takes you here, there and everywhere. It’s not their best, far from it, but it’ll keep you entertained for hours.

The Jesus And Mary Chain Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Fri March 29 2024 - LONDON Roundhouse
Sat March 30 2024 - LONDON Roundhouse

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