There are very few things in this life that rank up there with the
best Jesus And Mary Chain records. For those of us who grew
up with the walls of noise-drenched guitar feedback and moody droning
bliss of Jim and William Reid, there will always be
a special hollow inside of our hearts where we can look when life
wants to drag us down and we can know beyond a doubt that music is
still salvation. When the Mary Chain seemed to have dissolved a few
years ago, it was a terrifying thought. William Reid put out a quiet
EP (subtly entitled Tired Of Fucking) a year or two later,
and followed that up with his full length under the moniker Lazycame,
but nothing was really heard of from Jim. Well, the time is now for
resurrection, friends. Jim Reid has returned, along with fellow JAMC
alumnus Ben Lurie, for one of the finest gritty guitar pop
records of the past few years.
This new project is called Freeheat, and it is good. The disappointment
lies in the fact that the studio tracks were all recorded back in
1997, while the remainder of songs were recorded live back in 2003
so this is not necessarily new music, but it is good music. A few
of the tracks recorded live here were released on the Don't Worry,
Be Happy ep back in 2000
Jim's music follows the basic tenets
set forth by the later Jesus And Mary Chain records. Finely crafted
pop songs buried behind biting guitar licks and tight drumming are
the norm, and Reid never strays far from the kind of sonic bliss for
which he and his brother are so well known. "Keep On Trucking"
could have jumped right off of Automatic; the song contains
all the same magic that was held in "Blue From A Gun". "Dead
End Kids" was released as a single last year, to absolutely no
fanfare, and the live version recorded here is throbbingly rhythmic
and filled with vicious guitar feedback and caterwauling vocal ooh-oohs.
"Shine On Little Star" is a more acoustic based track, built
on strummed guitar and melodic vocals until the band kicks in with
a laid-back groove and some cool tremolo-heavy electric guitar tracks.
"Down" pops things up a bit with tripping piano lines and
skipping drums, which offsets the sonic depth and flanged guitars
of the brilliant "The Real Deal". "Don't Look Back"
is pure slowdown sonic bliss with some crazy spacey keyboards resonating
willy-nilly and a nice Velvet Underground arrangement. The
record finishes off with two amazingly edgy and super-sonic live tracks,
the fiercely quick-temepered "K Moon" and the wah-infused
fuzz of the biting "Baby G2" instrumental set closer.
This Freeheat music is all good news, and great listening, but the
even better news is that there will be a domestic release this March
of a record from Sister Vanilla, which is rumored to be a project
of both the Reid brothers. I don't know why the brothers don't just
get the Mary Chain back together instead of renaming
magic is excellent, but together, the boys are un-fucking-stoppable.
1. Keep On Truckin'
2. What Goes Around Live)
3. Back On The Water (Live)
4. The Story So Far (Live)
6. Dead End Kids (Live)
7. Get On Home
8. Facing Up To The Facts (Live)
9. Shine On Little Star
10. Get On Home (Live)
12. The Two Of Us (Live)
13. The Real Thing
14. Shine On Little Star (Live)
15. Don't Look Back
16. K Moon (Live)
17. Baby G2 (Live)
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