Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Album Review: The Jesus and Mary Chain - The Power of Negative Thinking: B-Sides & Rarities

In 2008 the Jesus and Mary Chain released a 4 CD box set of B-sides.  It's wonderfully packaged in a book-like case, full of notes and photographs.  You have to ask yourself though: does anybody need nearly 4 hours and over 80 tracks of this?

The answer is, of course, yes.  The first CD contains early demo Up Too High, the extraordinary assault of their first single Upside Down and many, many more. The hilarious, deadpan, expletive-laden Cracked is included here, but on the other hand, there are acoustic versions of some of the Psychocandy material, for those who can't take the feedback.

The second CD is almost flawless, full of exuberantly bored tracks like Kill Surf City, Everything's Alright When You're Down and TWO versions of the Beach Boys' Surfing USA.  The late 80s/early 90s covered on CD3 saw some dodgy synth & drum machine experiments, though they still found time for the triumphant Something I Can't Have.

On the final CD the preponderance of acoustic-based Primal Scream-style strums (Little Stars, New York City, Taking It Away), along with covers of the Pogues (Ghost of a Smile) and Prince (Alphabet Street) sound like a band running out of steam.  However, the material remains of high quality across this hugely comprehensive collection, sure to provide months of enjoyment for the Jesus-heads amongst us.