It's 1985 and me, a callow youth, vaguely into The Smiths and my elder brother's Jam records, reads about the next big thing in the NME, the Jesus and Mary Chain. Great name, thought I, but will they be any good? Heralded as the second coming of the Sex Pistols (testimony, surely, to how poor the music press are at describing music) and billed as noise merchants and instigators of riots at gigs, I finally got to hear them on Radio One. Paul Weller, of the aforementioned Jam, describing them as "a storm in a teacup." Beneath the coruscating feedback was a definite melody though - and some rather horizontal lyrics about having a hangover. Later that year, the Mary Chain released one of the greatest albums of all time, which stills sounds fresh today and still sounds like nothing on earth. It's decadent music, really - they take the classic bubblegum pop and drumbeat of Phil Spectre and decay it with Stooges style guitars or just noise. My memories of playing this record are of my mum rushing upstairs to ask me what was wrong. "Is that record faulty? Is my washing machine interfering with it?" Personal highlights: Taste of Cindy, It's So Hard and Something's Wrong (with a melody adapted from Wondrous Stories by Yes.)
One regrettable off shoot of the album was the formation of the Mary Chain's very own real tribute band, the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. At the time though, fans of the band could explore not only Spectre and the Shangri-Las but music from the late 60s, early 70s era that punk had put out of fashion.