The Jesus & Mary Chain/Stoned & Dethroned

Stoned & DethronedThe Jesus and Mary Chain are a Scottish alternative rock band formed in East Kilbride, Glasgow in 1983. The band revolves around the songwriting partnership of brothers Jim and William Reid. They released a string of albums, singles and EPs between their 1983 formation and their 1999 breakup, and gained notoriety in their early days for short sets and violence that became common at their live shows. In 2007, the band reunited.

Stoned & Dethroned is the fifth album by the Scottish alternative band The Jesus and Mary Chain. After spending most of 1992 touring, including a slot on that year’s Lollapalooza tour, the Mary Chain went into the studio in January 1993 with the notion of recording an acoustic album. For the first time since Psychocandy, JAMC recorded with an actual full band with Monti from Curve playing drums and touring bassist Ben Lurie. The recording took longer than planned, lasting the better part of a year. The album also features lead vocals from guests Shane MacGowan from The Pogues on “God Help Me” and Mazzy Star‘s Hope Sandoval, duetting with Jim Reid on “Sometimes Always“, which was the album’s first single.

Dirty Water—-If you are or have been a fan of JAMC, the first thing you notice from the very first notes of this release is how sedate it is…the distortion and feedback is not oft heard here. The band takes a turn with the more archaic notion of actually making a record you could listen to all the way through and actually understand the words. This only shows that despite the contention between the brothers they are an intelligent and introspective lot that just had to let it out. This is brilliant.

Bullet Lovers—-This is awesome….this has long been my favorite JAMC release….I love the noisy and distorted masterpieces they produce…to see them like this is the middle of the whole British ‘Oasis Movement’ I would consider that genius and right on time. The band never loses the majesty of their sound despite all of the fuzz and feedback…the sound is there and you can hear it strong and clear.

Sometimes Always—-This remains one of  my favorite track on this release. I reach for this so many times…the contrasting vocals between Hope and Reid are incredible…they produce a She & Him song 15 years before they even though about it. This is a piece of magic….the guitars are so pleasant and the gentle sway of the song is perfect for that look down at the floor persona…magical!

Come On—-It is amazing how the band can still sound like the band after removing all of the elements you are so familiar with. This is amazing…this sounds nothing like JAMC but sounds EXACTLY like JAMC….remarkable…..did that make sense. This is gentle with an underlying aggressive sound that is muted but feed by slight familiar feedback. Brilliant!

Between Us—-This is slow, rocking and rhythmic. You find your groove with the present bas that runs through the backdrop…the drums are easy and the vocal is just wonderful…every word is right there for you to hear, process and digest. This is great. You have to look this up and get a listen!!!

Hole—-With a bigger guitar sound, the vocal hearkens a bit back to the golden days as it is presented more removed and with a slight hollow echo. The guitars are more layered and you get a thicker feel from the song. This is nice and full of sludge at times…but still clearer than anything they had done to this point.

Never Saw It Coming—-This is freakin’ fantastic….the low hum runs through this truly acoustic track. This is quiet, gentle and screaming of 90’s UK. This is almost brilliant…Reid sings with such clarity and the underlying energy is kept so in control…remarkable. These guys can get pretty emotionally intense sometimes….jeez!!!

She—-This has a really nice percussion sound…the drums and the bass work together like a machine. The vocal sounds like two…like it was studio overlayed…this is cool though, giving the song a bigger sound. I love this CD…call me a wimp…it’s my favorite.

Wish I Could—-With a slight louder and larger sound, the vocal is at a tone that you know this will open up some. The amazing and introspective lyrics are really a surprise…you feel like you are eavesdropping. The low hum runs through the song…a slight electricity and you are rewarded with a nice heavy guitar line.

 Save Me—-This is fantastic….Reid goes about confessing himself and asking for saving in 4 minutes…WTF….a really great sound with a strong  too loud guitar…typical…this is masterful just for the musical interlude in the middle of the song. Check this out!!!

Till It Shines—-This is, ironically, nice and shiny and full of that late 80’s early 90’s emerging Brit sound. This is nice and melodic and the guitars are well under control. I love this stuff.

God Help Me—-This remains and has always been my favorite track on this release. I always reach for Honey’s Dead and then this….the vocal…with Shane from The Pogues, is brilliant. The guitar is so gentle with an almost country twang to it….the vocal enters and mutters the line “God help me through this day”… many times have you said that??? Shane delivers a great vocal…this is magical…I never, never get tired of this and listen to it more often than I should.

Girlfriend—-This is bright and jangly with a deep dark undertow that even lends itself to the deeper vocal. This is louder, the guitars a pit more present and the heavy chords vibrating nicely through the song. This is just about as good as it gets….why have I not listened to this for so long….remarkable!!

Everybody I Know—–This begins with a rather breezy sound…the vocal enters and you catch every single dark word that gives the song a whole different meaning. Some of the tracks on this release are pretty poppy…the lyrics always rear the head though and you realize this is a pretty dark record…wonderful…what else would you require!!!

You’ve Been A Friend—-Gentle and flowing from the onset, the electricity is kept at a minimum but the band does not abandon it altogether. This is nicely done…one time you listen to the song and you concentrate of the musicality and the next the lyrical brilliance. This is a treat.

These Days—-Again, you get a song with an almost Country twang to it. The vocal enters and the lyrics are intense…this was all designed to make you really think about your life. There seems to me…from some of the lyrics….a religious lean to the song…it all serves to make you sway back and forth and think about your life….because Music Matter!!!!

Feeling Lucky—-Rounding out the release as sedate as it began, this is almost bare with no overlaying loudness or even constrained energy…this is a pure slow almost bluesy jam though introspection-land. Just what I needed. This is Brilliant!!!!

***** out of 5 [!!!!!]


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