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4.2 out of 5 stars
Automatic (DMD)
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 10 November 2003
Some bands legacy will always be greater after they break up, and BRMC, White Stripes et al are strong evidence of the fact that the Jesus and Mary Chain, like the VU before them, will be more revered after the fact than they were in their day.
In turn, they were also a band who wore there own influences happily on their sleeve, and here (from T-Rex and Dylan on "Blues from a Gun" to VU on "Here comes Alice") again those influences were reconstructed as something completely new. How many other bands made so many great covers (check out Barbed Wire Kisses to see what I mean), and who else took a bass line or hook and made them so completely their own? At least with the Reids they took to make something greater again, unlike those who now ape them.
Rumoured to be after a mental breakdown, in Automatic it's clear that by '89 the tours of North America and their experiences were deeply shaping the brothers and their music, from the Americana of "Coast to Coast" to the skewed TV evangelism of "Take It". This is rage and fury being vomited out in the screams and feedback more of Psychocandy than Darklands, and even the acoustic moments are uttlery twisted. However, the noise is more controlled and directed, adding to the sonic rather than distracting from it, and giving a far greater intensity.
In 1989 only Doolittle by the Pixies and The Stone Roses, two more bands heavily influenced by the JAMC, could hold a light to it, and it was a top 3 album of the year in almost all of the polls that mattered. If you've just been dumped and need a rage inducement as a soundtrack - this is your baby - it was for me. If you haven't, you should buy it to remember "screaming automatic pain".
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
This album serves as a highly accurate blueprint for producing the near perfect rawk record. If the Marychain really did set the controls to automatic whilst producing this piece of work then their genius is truly confirmed. Vocals, lyrics, bass, drums, geetar and production are all tuned to perfection - it's a cliche but there really are no duff tracks here. It is that good. So good infact that Billy Idol was (at the time) rumoured to have approached the boys to produce his next album - shocking stuff.

I remember buying the original vinyl gatefold of this record and rushing home to listen to it. Suffice to say it's been blowing my mind ever since.

The first side is, quite frankly, unbelievable. The dirty vibe of "Here comes Alice" and "Blues from a gun" has never been bettered; William's guitar on "Blues" is simply awesome. Then there's "Between planets", which remains so completely valid over seventeen years later.

Side two is equally inspired. Whilst the single "Head on" is genuinely very good (so good that the Pixies covered it folks), the real stand outs are "Her way of praying" and the excellent "Take it", which has to be heard (live, ideally) to be believed. "Halfway to crazy" provides welcome, if slightly unexpected respite. Finally, there is no better album closer than "Gimme hell". A masterclass.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 30 December 2003
If you own, or have heard any of Psychocandy, JAMC's brilliantly apocalyptic debut, you'll know what the Reid brothers are capable of. And although 'Automatic' isn't quite up to their early standards, it is a fine rock n roll record nonetheless.
The squall of feedback is all but gone, as is their habit of recording in disused tube lines, but this isn't necessarily a bad thing, making the album as a whole more accessible than its predecessors.
Opener 'Here Comes Alice' is fairly standard fare, with some nice 'doo doo doo's towards the end, whilst 'Blues from a Gun' apes Dylan lyrically, but is years apart sonically.
Highlight of the album for me is 'Between Planets', a track which surges along with a guitar part so uplifting, it renders the lyrical content obsolete.
It's hard to say exactly how this album fits in with the rest of JAMC's canon, and more difficult still to imagine its place in the UK scene on its release. It is clear however, that it has been extremely influential, possibly more so than Psychocandy, due to the band's heightened pop sensibilities. But, as an introduction to one of the finest bands to come out of East Kilbride, this is ideal.
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on 12 March 2010
Automatic is the third album by Scottish alternative rock band The Jesus and Mary Chain. The Mary Chain on this record is basically the core duo of brothers William and Jim Reid, with a drum machine providing percussion, and even a synthesizer filling in on bass guitar. At this point in the band's career they were veering away from the 1-2 minute punk tunes and trying to assert themselves as musicians who had a love for creating beautifully chaotic perfect pop songs. The Jesus Mary and Chain are one of those forgotten alternative indie 80s bands. Highly influential and ahead of their time the Jesus Mary and Chain combined punk, pop, sludge, noise, and walls of feedback to create some of the most inspiring music to come out of the early indie scene. As for sibling rivalry, these two make the Noel and Liam (Oasis) look like pusycats

What makes TJMC so great is that they sang songs about sad, depressing themes, but yet played them with a pop sensibility. ". The songs are depressing psychotic miserable tunes equipped with the usual wash of feedback and distortion, but yet makes you want to sing and dance. The Jesus Mary and Chain sound is what would happen if the Velvet Underground got into a fight with the Beach Boys or if Echo and the Bunnymen collided with the Smiths and Joy Division and were given the kiss of life by the Cure. Better than all of their competitors, they never quite made it past the finishing line. The Jesus Mary and Chain masterfully blend and craft catchy pop tunes and disfigured them beautifully with feedback and distortion.

On 1989's AUTOMATIC, the Jesus & Mary Chain take the pop-tinged sound of DARKLANDS, and roughen up the edges with a slight industrial tinge. Though it's certainly not a complete return to the ferocity of PSYCHOCANDY. Automatic is a worthy attempt at taking back the fierceness that had been diluted somehow although the feedback isn't the dying tangle of their first album. .The sound is still fresh and exciting injected with venomous pop sensibilities complemented by powerful guitars and hardened melodies. The whole caboodle is raw but yet pure, an energetic rush of polluted and wonderful rock & roll soaked in class, cockiness and beautiful laziness. Take a peak into the world of Indie today and we can see their influence splattered liberally all over the place
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on 20 November 2012
Being a bit of an oldie I came to JMC via The Raveonettes and then bought 21 Singles. From that cd I realised I absolutely loved the tracks from Automatic and Darklands. Automatic lays down its hard rocking template on track one. It powers up several notches with track two and some blistering guitar and hard driving rifts and moves seamlessly into the mighty track three. And so it goes on - unrelenting but beautifully unrelenting. The guitar work is oh so clean but paradoxically oh so dirty. Much of the distorted feed back so beloved by JMC purists is possibly too toned down although it does cut through track three like a chain saw hitting hard steel and so we keep powering on remorselessly through to the bitter end. Wonderful but possibly not a huge favourite among JMC purists. But speaking as a good old fashioned rocker I have no hesitation of giving this 5 stars
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For me this is the most under rated JAMC album. It is full of punchy tight tunes throughout.It ooses with sleazy psuedo-American guitar pop culture which is what the Mary Chain were all about.
The first album (Pychocandy) is generally the most highly regarded, but in my opinion has weaker songs. I was a big fan of the second album (Darklands) when it came out but now I find it quite bland compared to Automatic with only a couple of standout tracks like Nine Million Rainy days.
Automatic is full of energy from the off. Here comes Alice sets the up-tempo tone that last throughout with highlights including Blues from a gun.
I never felt that reached this level after Automatic. A minor classic in my opinion and strangely under rated.
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on 4 August 2010
This is the last of the three truly great JAMC albums - just like Psychocandy and Darklands it has its very own sound, completely different from the one before. Some people hate the drum machine here, I think it is used perfectly and very creatively - perhaps it forced the band into a more focused, minimalist, tight sound, but that is a good thing - as the result is a sexy, driving, hard-hitting and extremely cool album that seems as relevant today as ever. One of the best and most wonderfully stupid, nihilistic rock'n'roll POP albums ever. Obviously a great inspiration for so many bands to come, yet the actual sound of this record is still as totally unique as that of Psychocandy.
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on 28 April 2013
This is a great remastering of a superb album. Unfortunately it seems to have some sort of anti piracy on it which means it jumps on my CD player and crackles on my PC. Fortunately I found another PC to import it to my iphone and my car CD player plays it OK.
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on 5 January 2014
This is a great album which never loses the dark, raw yet electronic vibe. The entire thing has very nice beats with driving guitars that may bury at least half of its tunes deep within your head for a good few days.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 30 July 2008
Here Comes Alice, Blues From A Gun and Between Planets are slick and sexy, but the rest of the album is predictable rawk and soon becomes monotonous. A far cry from Psychocandy. The pounding drum machine is ever-present and oppressive - bring back Bobby Gillespie!
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