By Daniel Marco, Blogs Editor
[Artificial Plastic; 2017]
Key Tracks: “Amputation,” “Mood Rider,” “Get on Home”
Damage and Joy, the first release in nearly 19 years from Scottish alternative rock band, The Jesus and Mary Chain is actually a miracle in itself, seeing as brothers and co-founders Jim and William Reid were somehow able to record an entire studio album without killing each other first. The brothers’ famous feuding was the main reason for the band’s split in 1999, and since their reunion in 2007, fans finally have the new music they’ve been waiting so long for.
Damage and Joy is definitely a departure from Mary Chain’s earlier work. Gone is the ear-splitting noise, shrieking distortion and outright aggression of albums like Psychocandy, replaced instead with a softer and slower sound on most songs.
Although up-tempo songs like “Amputation” and “Get on Home” try to liven up the party with some explosive riffs and foot-tapping ferocity, the album starts to become borderline boring in the middle section, which is littered with softer, mushier songs like “Always Sad”, “Song for a Secret” and “The Two of Us”. While these songs and many others like it aren’t necessarily bad, they feel bland and somewhat safe.
Old Jesus and Mary Chain sounded like a train running off the rails, and while it’s understandable that after so many years the band has lost much of its recklessness, Damage and Joy sounds relatively average and standard. It’s a perfectly fine album, but it doesn’t tip the scales in a meaningful or impactful way.