Upside Down: The Best of The Jesus and Mary Chain (3 stars)

Upside Down: The Best of The Jesus and Mary Chain

(Rhino)

Quite sensibly, this kitchen-sink-included compilation of the East Kilbride noiseniks does not arrange itself in chronological order, thus concealing the fact the band’s introductory fusillade of sonic fireworks – ‘Upside Down’, ‘You Trip Me Up’, ‘Never Understand’ – quickly fizzled into repetition. Indeed, by the conclusion of track 44 on disc two you wish devoutly never to hear another dirty, snarly hymn to the American nightmare as long as you live.

To be sure, the Mary Chain brought new dimensions of limitation to the phrase one trick pony; invariably they sounded like little more than a motorbike revving at traffic lights. That said, the Mary Chain remain the platonically perfect soundtrack for the great 1980s indie student disco in the sky, a kind of training-bra Springsteen for those who can’t drive yet. They were, principally, rock history curators, as was Creation Records, the label with which the band were most associated (a new biopic, Upside Down: The Story of Creation Records, accompanies this release). The constituent parts are identified swiftly – the hip insolence of T-Rex, the mouth-agape stupidity of The Stooges, the ham-fisted harmonies intending to be Beach Boy tributes. The Mary Chain had, without doubt, a convulsive effect, reclaiming rock’s history in the era of Nik Kershaw and Howard Jones. But, as this exhaustive compilation attests, it was an alchemy that far outstayed its welcome.

Tracklisting

DISC 1
1. Just Like Honey
2. April Skies
3. Blues From A Gun
4. Far Gone And Out
5. Some Candy Talking
6. Come On
7. Head On
8. I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll
9. All Things Must Pass
10. Reverence
11. Sidewalking
12. Cracking Up
13. Upside Down
14. Never Understand
15. The Hardest Walk
16. Happy When It Rains
17. The Perfect Crime
18. Sometimes Always
19. Almost Gold
20. Darklands
21. 45 RPM
22. Head

DISC 2
1. Half Way To Crazy
2. You Trip Me Up
3. Rollercoaster
4. Birthday
5. Happy Place
6. Something I Can’t Have
7. I Hate Rock ‘n’ Roll
8. Tower Of Song
9. Vegetable Man
10. In A Hole
11. Kill Surf City
12. 33 1/3?
13. Cherry Came Too
14. Between Planets
15. Moe Tucker
16. Little Stars
17. God Help Me
18. New York City
19. Nine Million Rainy Days
20. Drop
21. Black
22. Psychocandy

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