The Jesus and Mary Chain : Glasgow Eyes

Jesus and Mary Chain Glasgow Eyes review

To celebrate their 40th year churning out the kind of stark sonic rock that we now call post-punk, The Jesus and Mary Chain return after a seven-year stretch with their eighth album Glasgow Eyes. Age has apparently taught the Reid brothers to not take themselves too seriously, as some of the more upbeat grooves on their latest share only marginal common ground with the more melancholy tones that colored their 1987 album Darklands. While they might not take the same measure of delight from rainy days, they do still touch upon the melancholy with moments of reflective tension and even grow briefly despondent on “Chemical Animal,” an emotionally powerful reflection on addiction. 

The group cranks up the mood with the energetic pulse of “Venal Joy.” It sets the stage for the album’s experimental tendencies as the Reids employ synth and electronics to supplement the droning groove. The ageless quality of Jim Reid’s voice here only feeds this energy, as his hushed muttering gives the lyrics an urgency that remains an essential part of the band’s signature sound.

“American Born” holds hints of the band’s punk-influenced beginnings. The Reid went on record saying that jazz influenced the making of this album; they didn’t intend for this to be their jazz album altogether, though the suggestion nonetheless clicked when I heard some of the subtle instrumentation creating the atmosphere of “Mediterranean X Film.” Those jazz elements can be most profoundly felt in the drumming of Justin Welch, of Elastica fame. The album’s lead single “jamcod” is an odd introduction to the album, and while it does wink in the direction of their ’90s sound, it is somewhat deceptive as it’s not representative of the album as a whole. That said, it depends on where your entry point was for this band as fans who came aboard with Stoned and Dethroned might prefer the nostalgia of that era, whereas older fans who latched onto their noisier debut Psychocandy have different expectations.

One of the album’s strengths is that it touches upon sounds from throughout their career as a whole. Though this is not an album from a band that seems to give a damn about expanding their fanbase, which at this stage of their career is to be respected. The strongest moments on Glasgow Eyes are when the JAMC lean into the post-punk sound heard in the palm-muted tension of “Discotheques.” Their excursions into classic rock homage with songs like “The Eagles and the Beatles” is the sound of the band simply having fun in the studio with a Joan Jett-like chord progression. They also toy around with more traditional rock stylings on “Girl 71,” which recalls Judas Priest’s “Livin’ After Midnight.”

The Jesus and Mary Chain refer to their love affair with guitars on “Sliver Strings,” where they take solace in their instrument that has defined their sound for four decades. In so doing they capture some of the album’s best guitar tones with its reverb-heavy resonance. The album gives a nod to the Velvet Underground, one of the band’s earliest influences, on the closing song “Hey Lou Reid.” They wander off into shoegaze as the song progresses, which serves as a fitting end to the album. Even though Glasgow Eyes isn’t as bleak as Darklands, which was my own entry point to the band, it does find The Jesus and Mary Chain sounding as vital as ever. The Reid Brothers still sound like they’re having fun doing this, which goes a long way toward making this a worthwhile addition to their catalog.

Label: Fuzz Club

Year: 2024

Similar Albums:

The Jesus and Mary Chain: Glasgow Eyes

Note: When you buy something through our affiliate links, Treble receives a commission. All albums we cover are chosen by our editors and contributors.

View Comments (0)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Scroll To Top