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Back On The Water
Planting Seeds Records

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… this individual magic is excellent, but together, the boys are un-fucking-stoppable.

-Embo Blake

Track Listing:
1. Keep On Truckin'
2. What Goes Around Live)
3. Back On The Water (Live)
4. The Story So Far (Live)
5. Everything
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)
11. Down
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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