Top critical review
17 people found this helpful
on 29 June 2002
There's two major omissions, the cover of Vic Goddard/Subway Sect's classic 'Ambition', from the 'Never Understand' 12" & 'Vegetable Man', another cover (Syd Barrett), the b-side of the Creation released call to arms 'Upside Down'. These two are amongst the best the early (and best) Mary Chain had to offer.
There are some fantastic moments - the amphetamine beach boys rush of 'Surfin' USA' & 'Kill Surf City' and the post blues slash and burn on 'Who do you love' & 'Bo Diddley is Jesus' are fine illustrations that for all their willingness to embrace experimentation and their ability to shock and revile, the Mary Chain were at their best a well honed rock and roll band. Motown rhythms, Spector-esque wall of sound, surf breaks, 60's hooks and pop melodies, the Mary Chain were a re-invention of the best of pop of ages.
Re-invigorating lost classic genres - motorbike songs in 'Rider' & 'The Living End' (from the debut album 'Psychocandy'), are 'Leader of the Pack' from the point of view of the soon to be dead leather clad hero.
There are nods to krautrock, versions of Can's 'Mushroom' and the Darklands (2nd LP) era stuff 'Swing', 'On the Wall' and Velvets style noise in 'Cracked' & 'Head' and over 20 tracks you get a great snapshot of their first half decade.
The later albums got patchier, but the blueprint of their soundchange from noiseniks to avant-rock is well documented here, essentially the journey from 'Upside down' to 'Sidewalking'.
And for those who think they never wrote tunes, check out the acoustic version of 'Taste of Cindy', the gorgeous ' Psychcandy' and the pure pop thrill of 'Everything's alright when you're down'.
Buy the debut album fisrt, then this or 'Darklands'.