I was fortunate enough to discover The Jesus & Mary Chain very early on - praise be to John Peel & his legendary Maida Vale sessions. I bought those initial, semi-iconic, skree-drenched singles, worshipped Psychocandy at an altar of feedback, & saw them live when they were still spotty, skinny East Kilbride goths with National Express bus tickets. Darklands, perhaps inevitably, was a massive disappointment for me - I played it over & over again, desperate to "click" with it, but it never happened. Worse still, MY DAD LIKED IT - it reminded him of Lee Hazlewood & Johnny Cash I think? - &, as much as I now love Lee's music myself, 20 Year Old Me didn't want to be caught approving of ANYTHING The Old Man listened to (save for those battered copies of Dylan's electric LPs, which I covertly smuggled out with me when I finally left home). Consequently, I opted out of The Mary Chain ride thereafter & didn't buy another record by them until I heard "Sometimes Always" on daytime radio (this WAS the '90s after all) & was utterly mesmerised.
I still don't like Darklands - I bought the deluxe edition for completism's sake &, as much as I dig those squally, amped-up b-sides, the LP itself still leaves me cold. Stoned & Dethroned is, however, an oft overlooked, much neglected corker. It's no masterpiece - the songs all begin to sound the same after a while, & there are too many of them - but a little judicious cherry-picking reveals a very fine album indeed. It's true, I suspect, that The Mary Chain were consciously "doing a Mazzy Star" in the hope of breaking into the American market but, on reflection, the likelihood of that ever happening was ludicrously slim - Hope Sandoval, after all, was a stunner with a beautiful voice. Jim & Reid, meanwhile, were neither (sorry lads). Stoned & Dethroned is still my favourite Mary Chain LP after Psychocandy though, vying with the sporadically brilliant Munki for 2nd place.
This terrific "deluxe edition" is liberally stuffed with excellent additional tracks - the entire Sound Of Speed EP (including a raucous must-hear cover of "Little Red Rooster"), BBC sessions, & a slew of surprisingly caustic b-sides among them - a bona fide "value for money" package, basically. Stoned & Dethroned itself probably only justifies a 4-star rating, but the packaging, annotation & extra material here is so exemplary that it's worthy of that additional 5th star itself.
I actually bought this album after reading some of the other reviews here on Amazon. I, like many, lost interest in the band after Honeys Dead and got engrossed in the whole grunge thing, but like many great bands they never totally leave your musical conscience and I constantly returned to Darklands and Psychocandy to experience those great moments with a smile on my face. I checked on here for new material because i noticed from Mojo magazine they have reformed and was interested in reading some new opinions...curiosity I guess. So i ended up reading about Stoned and Dethroned and bought it. I gotta say its great, when I read that it was a much more acoustic affair than standard Mary Chain offerings I had my doubts as noise and distorted guitars can very often cover up weak songwriting but the Reids have produced a very good LP here, it has also lead me to purchase Munki, their final offering of the nineties, hope its as good.
This album sees the Marychain keeping their collective cool whilst all around them were loosing theirs. Some may cite this recording as the beginning of the end of the Marychain but those people have probably never listened to it in the first place. With hindsight it is very easy to see that this is a diamond hidden amongst the vast amounts of garbage produced in the early 90s.
At the time, there were rumours they were set to record an accustic album supported by a variety of vocalists. For whatever that didn't happen and history has this album instead.
I'll be completely honest; I love this record. It holds many memories; some of them very personal. Consequently, it's difficult to single out particular tracks but "Dirty water", "Bullet lovers", "Girlfriend", "She", "Till it shines" and "Everybody I know" all resonate nearly thirteen years later. Good stuff.
I'd disagree with the previous reviewer on one point - the Marychain where far from being a one trick pony. They were a fine slightly left field pop band who produced a cannon of work that continues to endure.
Well, it's not quite acoustic, but the tone is certainly softer and more reflective than their other records. As a collection of songs it was their best album since Darklands and there's a lot to love in these seventeen (generally brief) songs. There's atmosphere, melancholy, and some surprising optimism, plenty of strong melodies and sensitive arrangements. This was the first record on which the Reid brothers wrote separately, and their contributions are distinct. William writes most of the album, his songs ranging from the wistful to the bleak to the cautiously optimistic as on the closing 'Feeling Lucky' ('I've found someone who knows me/ And she still wants to hold me'). Jim's songs are more poppy, the best beinng the lovely ballad 'You've Been a Friend'. The one song they co-wrote, 'Save Me', is also a highlight. The single 'Sometimes Always', a duet between Jim and Mazzy Star singer Hope Sandovaal, is a classic pop song, and the guest vocals of ex-Pogues frontman Shane MacGowan lend the sombre but redemptive 'God Help Me' a depth and authenticity that adds to the album's appeal. The album's title reflects both its hazier mood and the band's fall from critical grace, but this album, cruelly underappreciated at the time, is actually a great collection of songs which more than merits attention.
I don't feel that this album is so much a drastic shift in The Jesus and Mary Chain's sound - there's always been songs that reflect the laid-back, slighty melancholic/slightly optimistic sound that this album exudes - "Drop", "Good For My Soul", "About You", to name but a few. Having said that, it is very different from their feedback-riddled debut, but so are all their albums post-Psychocandy. A general unpretentious sound and lyrics, and soft tuneful optimism make this my favourite Jesus and Mary Chain album. If you love Psychocandy, but find the feedback oppresive at times, and think that Sidewalking and Reverence were a step too far, I very much recommend this.
This is a drastic shift for the Mary Chain, ditching feedback and great sleazy stadium anthems for a lighter, more acoustic based sound. This works brilliantly in places, I love the pretty Sometimes Always and the melody in Dirty Water, and the seemingly solemn Save Me and Everybody I Know, and Between Us sounds great to me! But at 17 tracks (despite each song being fairly well compressed) the formula seems to wear slightly thin and a lot of the songs end up sounding very, very similar. On the whole the album seems rather unspectacular, each song follows the pattern of the last one, you won't find too many surprises on this one, which is a shame for the Mary Chain are so capable with all kinds of song types! :( Also the vocals sound disappointingly croaky and tired, and low in the mix compared to the music. This ain't the Mary Chain that I was used to on their 3 80's studio CDs, but I sure hope they return to their usual fantastic musicianship on the albums I have yet to hear :) I just feel a bit more effort could've been put into this one, it has potential to be fantastic, but unfortunately it doesn't quite make it. Slightly disappointing :( but as said, more than a couple of redeeming moments.
I'm not much of a fan of the JMC in the 80s, finding that most of itsuffered from incredibly low production values and tinny feedback. To me,Honey's Dead, Stoned and Dethroned, Munki and Automatic are the JMCmust-haves. S&D stands out in that all of the songs are faultless - laidback, cool, fantastic lyrics. Favourite tracks - God Help Me, You've BeenA Friend, These Days, Feeling Lucky. The CD artwork reflects themelancholic but uplifting feel of this album. Particularly good whendriving with all the windows down (pretending you have a soft top) on asummer's day.