Jesus and Mary Chain (The) - Darklands (+DVD)

Release Date: 19 September 2011
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Feeling no doubt burdened by the various claims of being the new Sex Pistols, and likely fed up with accusations that the walls of feedback were their own trick, the Reid brothers underwent a bit of a rethink with Darklands. The end result must have fallen squarely between two camps -- hardly eligible for sunny commercial airplay, not quite as flailing as the earliest efforts -- but, from a distance, this is an appealing, enjoyable record. Songs were often longer while the album itself was shorter than Psychocandy, walls of sound were often stripped away in favor of calmer classic rock twang and groove, while William Reid took the lead vocal at points, showing he had a slightly sweeter, wistful tone in comparison to his brother. However, the changes on Darklands can be overstated -- the basic formula at the heart of the band (inspired plagiarism of melodies and lyrics alike, plenty of reverb, etc.) stayed pretty much the same, even if the mixes were cleaned up -- compare "Down on Me" to any Psychocandy cut for a good example of the difference. The use of drum machines in place of Bobby Gillespie's rumble tended to enforce the newer focus, but at the album's best, such a seeming dichotomy didn't cause too much worry. "April Skies" made for a great single, while the soaring-in-spite-of-itself "Happy When It Rains" was another winner, one that Garbage more or less made its own some years later for its own similarly titled hit. William's singing turns made for other highlights as well, notably "Nine Million Rainy Days," the overt misery of the title suiting the dark crawl of the song, and the lengthy lament "On the Wall." Darklands is no Psychocandy in the end -- nothing the band released later ever was -- but it's still a good listen. ~ Ned Raggett
Release Date: 19 September 2011

1. Darklands
2. Deep One Perfect Morning
3. Happy When it Rains
4. Down on Me
5. Nine Million Rainy Days
6. April Skies
7. Fall
8. Cherry Came Too
9. On the Wall
10. About You
11. Some Candy Talking
12. Taste of Cindy (Acoustic Version/Unplugged)
13. Psychocandy
14. Hit
15. Darklands (BBC Radio Session)
16. Down on Me (BBC Radio Session)
17. Deep One Perfect Morning (BBC Radio Session)
18. Fall (BBC Radio Session)
19. In the Rain (BBC Radio Session)
20. Happy Place (BBC Radio Session)
21. Kill Surf City
22. Bo Diddley Is Jesus
23. Who Do You Love
24. Everything's Alright When You're Down
25. Shake
26. Happy When it Rains (Demo)
27. Happy Place
28. F.Hole
29. Rider
30. On the Fall (Portastudio Demo)
31. Surfin USA (Outtake)
32. Here it Comes Again
33. Walk and Crawl (Outtake)
34. Some Candy Talking (NME Version)
35. Mushroom (Outtake)
36. The Hardest Walk (Soundtrack Version)
37. Don't Ever Change (Outtakes)
38. Swing (Outtake)
39. Darklands (String Version)
40. Janice Long Interview
41. Some Candy (Video)
42. April Skies (Video)
43. Kill Surf City (Video)
44. Happy When it Rains (Video)
45. Darklands (Video)
46. April Skies (Live on Top of the Pops)
47. April Skies (Live on Villa Tempo)
48. Happy When it Rains (Live at The Roxy)

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Catalogue No: EDSG8007