I had to triple check my TGP post searches, because I was 100% convinced John must have already blogged about either this amazing band or album, unless our search engine stinks, he has not. The Jesus and Mary Chain’s second album Darklands, is in my opinion one of the shining examples of dark underground indie alt rock perfection. It basically combines everything I love about indie music into one amazing sound. I hear many of my other favorites in this band such as New Order, Morphine, Joy Division, Swans, Velvet Underground, I could go on and on. They somehow mastered the art of dark wave sounds but at the same time maintaining a level of “pop” accessibility with this release – that seems like such an insult to slap on a band description but it doesn’t have to be.
There isn’t a bad track on this album. In my ranking system, they are all four and fives star tracks. There is something I can’t put down in words about this band, and in particular, this album. This was the second album from Scotland’s The Jesus and Mary Chain, after the dark and dreamy debut Psychocandy (if you only know one song from this band, my guess is you know “Just Like Honey” from Psychocandy). If you know this album already, you probably can also tell I’m not the 80s new wave/indie/alt rock movement expert, just a great lover of it. This was John’s area of expertise but I’m doing my best to fill in with his writer’s hiatus from TGP.
After the departure of their drummer Bobby Gillespie who had gone on to form Primal Scream, they replaced him with a drum machine for Darklands. A sound I actually think works really well on this album. This band was intentionally working on a noise/minimalist sound, though to me, it never had that wearing or unlistenable factor of some bands that just go too far over the top to be edgy or different. I had to pull this quote from Wikipedia (sourced from a 1985 Sky News interview): .. bass player Hart’s bass guitar only had three strings, down to two by 1985; In Hart’s words “that’s the two I use, I mean what’s the fucking point spending money on another two? Two is enough.”
If this album has somehow eluded you through all of these years, you need to get on it right away. An all time classic.
Listen: The Jesus & Mary Chain – Nine Million Rainy Days
Listen: The Jesus & Mary Chain – April Showers
Download Badlands here