On this date in 1985, The Jesus and Mary Chain released their phenomenal debut, Psychocandy.
The album is considered a landmark recording: its combination of guitar feedback with traditional pop song structures proved influential on the forthcoming shoegazing genre and alternative rock in general.
The music in Psychocandy has been described as “bubblegum pop drowned in feedback”, that fused “melody with obnoxious burst of white noise.” Brothers Jim and William Reid said that they formed The Jesus and Mary Chain mostly inspired by German industrial band Einstürzende Neubatan, girl group the Shangri-Las, and The Velvet Underground & Nico.
Lead vocals are handled by Jim Reid on this album, with the exception of “It’s So Hard” by William Reid.
Andy Gill, writing for NME, described the album as “a great citadel of beauty whose wall of noise, once scaled, offers access to endless vistas of melody and emotion.” Tim Holmes of Rolling Stone praised the band as “a perfect recombinant of every Edge City outlaw ethic ever espoused in rock.”
Subsequently, the album has frequently appeared in “best ever” album lists, such as Q magazine’s 100 Greatest British Albums Ever, where it placed at number 88. Ranked number 268 on Rolling Stone magazine’s The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list. The magazine also ranked the album number 45 on its list of the 100 Best Debut Albums of All Time. The album was also included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.
Pitchfork listed Psychocandy as the 23rd best albums of the 1980s. Slant magazine listed the album at number 38 in its Best Albums of the 1980s list, saying, “Shaping fuzz into a potent, tactile instrument, The Jesus and Mary Chain helped establish the style of distortion-laden fogginess that would eventually become the foundation for shoegaze.
“Never Understand”, the music video up above, is the first single from Psychocandy. It’s considered influential for its use of guitar feedback (is that Bobby Gillespie on drums?). The second video, “Just Like Honey”, is the third single. It’s probably one of the most popular JAMC’s songs.
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