New Releases

Album Review – Glasgow Eyes by The Jesus and Mary Chain

Glasgow Eyes
Jesus and Mary Chain
Fuzz Club Records

Brothers Jim and William Reid, the founders of alternative rock pioneers The Jesus and Mary Chain, have returned to the spotlight with the release of Glasgow Eyes (on Fuzz Club), their first recording since 2017 (Damage and Joy). The new album celebrates their 40th year in existence with a fresh perspective of The Jesus and Mary Chain, showcasing their post-punk roots with plenty of flashes of feedback-drenched melodies and driving back beats while injecting new elements of free-form exploration into their songwriting style.

Glasgow Eyes was recorded at Mogwai’s Castle of Doom studio in Glasgow, the same studio which yielded the production of the Damage and Joy album. It is musically straightforward but lyrically complex. It gives a bleak, hard-hitting take on the state of reality…both of the band, and the current state of the world.

There is almost a sense of desperation that the Reid brothers are signaling with the social and political commentary they knit into the stripped-down synth-pop swells of shoegaze and dark wave production. Even the cover art relates the dire state of the world with its Nagel-styled art depicting a face that on a close look appears to be both blindfolded and gagged.

Here are quick first listen track by track impressions:

Venal Joy – Electronic pulses serve as a warning siren that The Jesus and Mary Chain are back. It rolls directly into a fast-paced takeoff with caustic and incendiary lyrics such as “Addicted to love so we can fuck on the table. I’m on fire, piss on fire,” and “My venal heartbeat filled with pain…I’m alright, I’m ok.”

American Born – A subdued synth pop beat supports sonically layered guitars and filtered voice effects. A hazy and sarcastic exploratory look from the outside into American life and what appears to be important to Americans.

Mediterranean X Film – Evenly paced electronica-inspired dance beat opens up with stream of consciousness vocals. Synthy bleeps and bloops and melodic guitars switch up the feel as the song progresses. “It looks like we love everyone, it looks like we love everybody.darkest day…darkest.”

Jamcod – Jesus and Mary Chain OD?  A grinding phased groove that has undertones that remind of Joy Division, with blasts of psych out space guitar. “Fucking up cause I’m falling down. Can’t see the ceiling caused I’m face down on the floor.”

Discotheques – Stripped down and minimalist in an almost Kraftwerk type of delivery, ‘Discotheques’ draws a picture of the humanity and interactions that take place on the dancefloor and how all different types of people are drawn in.

Pure Poor – Sludgy fuzzed out guitar driven drone, drunken with plenty of stagger and swagger.

The Eagles and the Beatles – Starts with a Weezer-like ‘Beverly Hills’ guitar intro leads to a celebration of musical influences. “I’m just rolling with the Stones, Mick and Keith and Brian Jones.”  An homage to how music shapes you.

Silver Strings – A metaphor to how materialism has risen to immense levels by what the internet affords people, and how the want for these things has emerged as a blinding new idol, but somehow music is seen as obscene. “You’ve got one billion shiny things…I’ve six dirty silver strings.”

Chemical Animal – The lighthearted sound of the music belies the message “I fill myself with chemicals to hide the dark shit I don’t show.”

Second of June – Sounds almost like a farewell note written with music…a sort of raising of the white flag. “Life is compromise and lies. Reason is on the run in this season of the gun. Good people come undone. There’s a blood moon on the rise. “

Girl 71 – Has perhaps the brightest sound and outlook on Glasgow Eyes, especially right after the sober somberness of ‘Second of June’. Kicks in with the guitar progression of Judas Priest’s “Living After Midnight” and has handclaps a plenty. Happy tones and lyrics…‘Hey we’ve got something…we’ve got love, we’ve got something.”

Hey Lou Reed – Begins as a blues-based backbeat with a volley of stream of consciousness then transforms into a psychedelic hymnal ending the album and lifting off to heaven.

Photo by Jeff Spirer