The Reid brothers enjoyed a mini-renaissance with this album in 1991, and their accompanying tour with Dinosaur Jnr, My Bloody Valentine and Blur. It contains two of their best singles in the top ten howl of outrage that was 'Reverence' (banned from Top of the Pops for the line 'I wanna die just like Jesus Christ' and the chorus, simply 'I wanna die'), and the perfect popnoise bomb 'Far Gone and Out' (a particular favourite of my friend Geg). Other highlights are the tender 'Almost Gold', the spiralling 'Rollercoater' and the closing, elegaic 'Sundown'. The production is impressive throughout, adding a slick industial sheen to the group's customary guitar pyrotechnics, and if the album is let down by anything it's the fact that some of the songs are less inspired than others. A great album nonetheless and well worth a listen.
Outside of the absolute classics of 'Psychocandy' and 'Darklands' this is the JAMC's best album, the one final burst of glory before it all went pear-shaped. Its surprisingly melodic and psychedelic, but the love of 'music concrete' is still there-JAMC were one of the few 'pop' acts I know willing to interrupt songs mid-way with noises that sounded like bulldozers crashing into each other. Not the best band in the world, but definitely the best to ever come from East Kilbride..
The previous year's 'Rollercoaster' EP had been a letdown. Baggy and grunge had transformed the musical landscape since JAMC's last album, the relatively disappointing 'Automatic.' Could the Mary Chain still cut the musical mustard in 1992? 4 tracks in we had our answer: the Reid brothers were back to their inspired best.
The trick lay in deftly incorporating fashionable innovations like 'shuffling beats' into their music while still maintaining the essence of the Mary Chain sound. That's why 'Honey's Dead' still sounds fresh and exciting whereas an album like, say, 'Spartacus' by The Farm, also from 1992, sounds horribly dated.
The album kicks off with one of their finest singles, 'Reverence.' "I wanna die just like JFK/I wanna die in the USA........" snarls Jim Reid nihilistically. The cover shot of the single featured a photograph of the mourning party, led by Jackie Onassis, at John F. Kennedy's funeral.
Next up is the salacious throb of 'Teenage Lust', one of those sleazy tales that Jim's vocals are so well suited to. By way of contrast, 'Almost Gold' shows an unexpectedly romantic side to the band. Sandwiched in-between these two gems is a sparkling single, 'Far Gone And Out'. Other top tracks include the cacophonous 'Catchfire' and 'Sugar Ray'.
The quality does dip a little towards the end. To my mind, 'Rollercoaster' is the only weak single they ever released, and 'Tumbledown' and 'I Can't Get Enough' are Mary Chain-by-numbers.
However, when listened to as a whole, 'Honey's Dead' was another intelligent step forward for a band who it was feared would always live in the shadow of their seminal debut album, 'Psychocandy.'
The JAMC deliver an album with lashings of flavour, from the sweet lovelorn guitar pop of Almost Gold and Good For My Soul to the salty grime of songs like Catchfire. For me this is the Reid brothers best album. I was lucky enough to see these guys on their now legendry Rollercoaster Tour with Dinosaur Jr and the up-and-coming Blur in the early 90's. Today, I can't help thinking Damon and Graham must have taken notes!
Any album which contains a single that has been banned by Top of the Pops deserves respect. The opening line of 'Reverence' - "I wanna die just like Jesus Christ" - assured the Jesus & Mary Chain would not be performing their top ten hit on the BBC. This record has a couple of low points but it never crashes into the ground, instead the mix of echoey gain-ridden guitar sounds fused with indie drums works superbly well. There are also a few indie-pop tunes here too, notably 'Far Gone and Out' and the excellent 'Almost Gold' - mellow indie never sounded this good. Without this band we wouldn't have Black Rebel Motorcycle Club which is another good point. Thoroughly enjoyable album, not quite perfect, but a very good listen.
Read the other review. He got it wrong. "Rollercoaster EP" was cracking. I saw them on the Rollercoaster tour with Blur with MBV. It was seminal. The Oldies always pluck for the early stuff, whereas me and my mates always preferred this album and "Automatic".
It is a simple, straightforward stunner of an album. 'I can't get enough' is by the way the best track on the album.
Not every fan's favourite, but it's mine. I wasn't expecting much when I bought it (at Bradleys in Doncaster, fact fans), but it blew me away. Great memories of the Rollercoaster tour at Sheffield, too.