Friday, April 13, 2012

FDF Volume 3 Issue 262 - The Jesus and Mary Chain - Honey's Dead

Album – Honey's Dead
Artist – The Jesus and Mary Chain
Key Players – Jim Reid - vocals and guitar. William Reid – vocals and guitar. Steve Monti – drums and percussion
Produced By – William and Jim Reid.

Release Date – March 23, 1992

What caused me to blow off the dust? I heard the track "Head On" (actually the Pixies cover) and I realized it had been a long while.

Overview – This is the fourth studio album from the Scottish band The Jesus and Mary Chain. The band (brothers Jim and William Reid) began playing in 1983. There are various reports on where the band got their name, ranging from a movie to a “prize” you could mail in for off a box of cereal. The band would write and perform (sometimes not even asked to do so) they'd release their first single in 1984. The band would gain notoriety for loud, short and violent filled shows. Over time they'd release more records and “calm down” a lot. The band would break up, but have since re-formed.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) – Since the brothers both sing and both play guitar I'll use first names. Also after the song names if “blank” Jim had the lead vocals. William for example sings on track 4 (Almost Gold) so I've indicated as well to them singing. The album opens with a controversial track “Reverence”. The lyrics “I want to die like Jesus Christ” and “I just want to die like JFK” got the single banned in the UK. The track is heavily fuzzed out with drummer Monti keeping a steady pace but the brothers just hit you will the swirling wall of guitar. Jim has a fitting voice for the vibe of the band. Slightly nasal, and not a ton of range, but perfectly fitting. There is a longer guitar solo, one keeps the steady pace as the second takes over. The tracks machine like drumming remains a constant through out. “Teenage Lust” seems a little slower tempo wise, but still very dark. Monti is slower on the drum strikes and the guitar has a deeper bass feel, but still full of fuzz. The band seems to find a groove as the chorus approaches with bigger chords and more of a full sound vs the singular buzzy guitars working over the drums. “Far Gone and Out” is a track that found its way to radio. A quick track that has just the right mix of the fuzz and melody that make a solid track. One guitar has a fair more 'bright' sound to it as it rings off the top of the buzzy guitar that maintains the bottom The drums are accented with more percussion than prior tracks. We are even more “mellow” on the track
“Almost Gold” (William). The band is much less rushed and the instruments each seem to stand on their own not relying on such a “wall” of sonic sound. Nice to hear the band seem to try different things. “Sugar Ray” returns to more of the fuzz of earlier tracks. One guitar seems to sound like a siren while the other meshes with the drums for a seamless back end. The track is not overly quick, but feel “sonic” at times, just hammering the listener with the walls of sound. The vocals come right out of the gate as “Tumbledown” starts. Keeping with the vibe of the “Jim” speedier” fuzzy tracks it has a faster, almost “industrial” type feel at times. They actually seem to have enough fun they duplicate it on the back side of the track. We slow down again with a deep bass driven track as “Catchfire” (William) starts off. William is more of a “whisper” singer. His delivery adds a unique feel to the track which is refreshing. Jim tries to match William and “Good for My Soul” starts off calm like the previous track. The percussion starts to get the track moving more but it doesn't ever really take off, it keeps the steady pass. Monti clicks off “Rollercoaster” and the guitars are back up in your face. One guitar finds the same few chords chime out as the second really takes a more sharp attack. Monti never really has had a chance to open up it seems, and hits them hard, but keeps it in check. Still, this is one of the more “tight” sounding tracks on the record. “I Can't Get Enough” (William) has a “brit pop” jangle to the guitar at the start. The tambourine, whenever used, (on all the tracks) is right up on the same level as the guitars it seems adding, dare I say, a playful feel. “Sundown” (William) is a calm track from the band where the guitars really ease up, and the drums are seemingly played with brushes. As the track is played out the drums get hit a little harder, but it never really gets that full buzzy/heavy feel of other tracks, or so you think...listen as the track winds down. The album concludes with the William sung “Frequency”. The lyrics used are the same as the album opener. The tempo and feel of the track is the same as the first track, but the vocals are less distorted, thus leaving it open for the guitars to be even louder than before...and more heavily distorted. The track quickly ends though..leaving you wanting more.

Where are they now? - The band broke up whole on tour in 1998 after years of tensions between the brothers. They have since re-formed (2007) and play live shows from time to time. In reading they say there is new music forthcoming, but a number of years have passed since these updates.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) August 7, 1992 was the only time I saw the band live. They were part of the Lollapaloosa tour. I recall them being in dark clothes (the stage was the shaded main stage) but it was daylight and there were a lot of people walking around. I recall one of the band members shouting “Where is everyone going?” They were not so bad that people were leaving, they were just not holding attention of a noticeable many. The band has said this was the “Worst experience of their lives”.

FDF Overall Take – The Jesus and Mary Chain are one of those bands where if you know who they are you dig them. It is sort of sacred ground for music fans so it can be a tough path to go down. There are some really solid moments on this record, and hardcore fans might point right away to any other record as being “better”. A few singles might strike a chord with the new listener. You can find their stuff used easy enough and your music cred goes up just a smidge if you've got one of their cds in the collection.

Official page

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

Reverence (live)

Far Gone and Out

Far Gone and Out on Letterman

You can still find the record here.


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