6 of 30 people found the following review helpful
The Mary Chain's decline begins here...,
This review is from: Darklands [Remastered Re-Issue] (Audio CD)
Darklands was the follow-up to their classic debut Psychocandy which was their first album after Bobby Gillespie left to focus on Primal Scream. In many ways it's a companion to the Scream's flawed debut on Elevation, Sonic Flower Groove, due to its retro nature and lack of execution. The three singles here `April Skies', `Happy When It Rains', & the title track are all wonderful, the first two were hits and even saw them on Top of the Pops! This is a slightly cleaner version of their earlier sound, which generally fused The Archies with the Velvets (or The Elevators with The Shangri La's).
The 1980s had seen a wave of music that nodded to the deleted and hard to find past - the Paisley Underground scene (The Rain Parade, Opal, The Dream Syndicate), to those who were Byrdsian (Pale Fountains, REM, The Smiths), to Sonic Youth - who nodded to similar markers as the Mary Chain (The Stooges, The Velvets), but with more of an avant-garde approach. Darklands was really the album that demonstrated that the Mary Chain were a retro throwback band whose best work was behind them - it also seemed a bit of a set-back for the scene after the 80s had seen the adventure of post-punk and new-pop. I recall people loathing them at this time for appearing a retro act who wanted it to be the Sixties, and I think it's clear that this is where they lapsed into pale self-parody, a funk they'd rarely get out of during the rest of their career.
The non-singles are largely dull - `Nine Million Rainy Days' achieves its aim of being tedious, needlessly dropping in the "ooh, oohs" from `Sympathy for the Devil.' I'm not against retro-references, but if you're going to do them, do them properly - like The Brian Jonestown Massacre (`who?'), Julian Cope (the Them-riff on `Reynard the Fox'), The Dukes of Stratosphear (where to start?), or Psychic TV's `Godstar' soundtrack. I suppose you could say that the Mary Chain were key to the 1990s generation that would uninventively borrow retro material from the 1960s - Blur's cover of The Kinks' `House in the Country' or Oasis' pilfering from Stevie Wonder, The New Seekers, T-Rex, REM, Neil Young & just about anyone else! But this album hasn't stood up - `Deep One Perfect Morning' just sounds like `Some Candy Talking' slightly rewritten, while `Cherry Came Too' attempts to be controversial and sexual - best leave that to Serge Gainsbourg! `On the Wall' makes rhymes hole with mole and the title track borrows that riff from New Order's `Love Vigilantes' that also surfaced in the Lightning Seeds' `Pure.'
I'd plump for the '21 Singles' compilation and `Psychocandy' over getting this or any of the albums after, though like `Honey's Dead' and `Stoned and Dethroned' there are a few decent tracks like `Fall' (which could have been on `Psychocandy'). Truth be told, their work was done and bands like AR Kane, Dinosaur Jr., Loop, My Bloody Valentine, Ride, Slowdive, Spacemen 3 and Ultra Vivid Scene would explore this territory much more successfully in the next few years. & in a world where you can buy originals like `Easter Everywhere' or `Funhouse', do you really need to settle for this pale imitation?
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 10 Oct 2011 03:16:08 BDT
mister joe says:
You truly make my skin crawl.What gives you this authority?Pathetic.Do you think your the only person who knows about Brian Jonestown Massacre?I despise your reviews with a passion.Go read Mojo.
In reply to an earlier post on 18 Oct 2011 11:46:45 BDT
A. Clarke says:
It's not a review I agree with but "What give you this authority?" is a hilariously bad phrase/question.
In reply to an earlier post on 25 Dec 2011 21:15:58 GMT
Last edited by the author on 25 Dec 2011 21:16:11 GMT
Samson Briggs says:
I think it's a good review - and about right. Except I'd say it has two good songs rather than three.
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