Prowling around like a caged animal, the new single ‘Chemical Animal’ from the legendary The Jesus and Mary Chain has a satisfying brooding element that exudes malevolence and disdain in their own inimitable fashion.
Released through Fuzz Club Records, there is a motorik beat behind the sonic throb – a more electrified abrasive sound with singer Jim Reid’s signatory detached, sneery delivery.
Like their earlier single ‘jamcod’ (reviewed by me here), there is an autobiographical element to the single, reflecting on the band’s turbulent past. Jim Reid says:
Our work on our autobiography definitely bled into our work on the album. ‘jamcod’, the first single from the album, was about that night in 1998 in the House of Blues when the band broke up. ‘Chemical Animal’ is different but related. I was thinking back to those dark days of chemical dependency. When you fall so deep into that hole that everything you do is by instinct. The drugs are the driving force. The thing that gets you from a to b is whether you can score. It was a horrible way to live and I’m thankful I don’t live that way any more. One effect is that it made me aware of how our brains, who we are, how we feel, and what we do, depend on our neural chemistry, a chemistry beyond our control. It’s a biological curse we can’t escape.
It’s classic JAMC territory – bleak, melodic and atmospheric:
You can download and stream the single here.
Marking 40 years of The Jesus And Mary Chain, ‘Glasgow Eyes’ was recorded at Mogwai’s Castle of Doom studio in Glasgow, where the Reid brothers continued the creative process that resulted in their previous album, 2017’s ‘Damage and Joy’, becoming their highest charting album in over twenty years. What emerged is a record that finds one of the UK’s most influential groups embracing a productive second chapter, their maelstrom of melody, feedback and controlled chaos now informed more audibly by their love for Suicide and Kraftwerk and a fresh appreciation of the less disciplined attitudes found in jazz.
Jim Reid says:
But don’t expect ‘the Mary Chain goes jazz.’ People should expect a Jesus and Mary Chain record, and that’s certainly what ‘Glasgow Eyes’ is. Our creative approach is remarkably the same as it was in 1984, just hit the studio and see what happens. We went in with a bunch of songs and let it take its course. There are no rules, you just do whatever it takes. And there’s a telepathy there – we are those weird not-quite twins that finish each other’s sentences.” ‘
‘Glasgow Eyes’ is out on 8 March 2024 and you can preorder here and through the link below:
This year will see The Jesus and Mary Chain embark upon an extensive tour of the UK, Ireland and Europe which commences in March. Strong demand for tickets has seen additional shows added in both London and Manchester after the initial dates rapidly sold-out. Remaining tickets for the dates, listed here and below are available here. Their festival plans for 2024 are also taking shape, with Festival Tomavistas (Spain), Paredes De Coura (Portugal) and Cruel World (USA) already confirmed.
Feature Photograph: Mel Butler