Monday, December 23, 2013

Album Review: The Jesus and Mary Chain - Barbed Wire Kisses

In 1988 the Jesus and Mary Chain put out a collection of B-sides, Barbed Wire Kisses.  It's an abrasive collection of brattish, guitar songs.  It starts out with the raucous Beach Boys-style Kill Surf City, a perfect combination of William Reid's scratchy guitars and Jim Reid's bored vocals. 
Really the rest of the album is not a lot different.  Rider, and Swing have a sort of strut to them that narrowly avoids cock-rock.  On the other hand, the guitars and vocals on Hit are positively guttural.  They allow in a little sunshine into Don't Ever Change, with blissful guitars and a really uplifting melody, and the mood is continued on the pounding Happy Place and the acoustic, heartfelt Psycho Candy.
Sidewalking signals a gear shift as the Reid brothers stick back on their shades.  It's not a particularly crafted song, just a cool-sounding one.  The Beach Boys' own Surfin' USA gets 'Jesused' and Everything's Alright When You're Down makes a fair stab at being an anthem.  The inclusion of debut single Upside Down is a welcome one, a blast of noise that still rattles the cages.
Some of it is (intentionally?) hilarious.  Cracked features ingenius lyrics "crack Johnny crack, walk Johnny walk" which "becomes f**k Johnny f**k" and then Jim Reid just spits out "f**k! f**k! f**k!".  It's a collection for those who thought Darklands was a little soft following on from Psychocandy.