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on 28 April 2004
This album continues the JMC's move away from the tinny over-feedbacksound of the 80s and towards their laid-back, melancholic-yet-optimisticsound of the 90s. High production values, great lyrics and fantastic tunesmake this my favourite JMC album (Munki comes a close second, followed bySound of Speed and Hony's Dead).
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Following `Honey's Dead' and the Rollercoaster tour with Dinosaur Jr, Blur & My Bloody Valentine, the Mary Chain delivered the `Snakedriver' and the relative to `Barbed Wire Kisses', the b-sides collection `The Sound of Speed.' The follow-up proper to `Honey's Dead' was this collection which pretty much stiffed in the era when Britpop was on the rise. It would be their last album on Blanco Y Negro/Warners prior to getting dropped, the band releasing their final album `Munki' on Creation in 1997.

The problem with the Mary Chain was the fact their debut `Psychocandy' was untopabble, some bands release fantastic debuts and just can't reach the peak again - Television, Wu-Tang Clan, The Pixies, The House of Love, Elastica, Gang of Four, Adam & the Ants, The Stone Roses...it happens! `Stoned & Dethroned' is probably the album `Darklands' should have been, the band were rumoured at times to be working on an acoustic album, then a record with guest singers like Scott Walker...this was the result.

Like a lot of unplugged-stuff in the 1990s, it wasn't quite acoustic, the Reid brothers recording with bassist Ben Lurie and drummer Steve Monti (was he in the original line-up of Curve?). As such it sounds like a blend of the Mary Chain, baggy and alt-country - a sound which has dated surprisingly well...I think this is their best album after `Psychocandy.' The blend of the Velvets-Stooges-MC5 template the Mary Chain worked from with country inflections suggests this is a primary work of alt-country and should perhaps be considered alongside bands like Uncle Tupelo, Whiskeytown, Nikki Sudden's solo work (RIP), & Wilco. Brakes have covered `Sometimes Always' from it on their enjoyable debut album, while the acoustic/alt-country directions of the Brian Jonestown Massacre evident on `Thank God for Mental Illness', `Bringing It All Back Home Again' and `We Are the Radio' are apparent here.

The seventeen tracks are all enjoyable, the Reid brothers taking turns to sing and predating the direction of Primal Scream at present by a good decade. The Mary Chain are one of those bands whose bad stuff is still quite listenable. Not really a dud here, there are some classics - `Hole' is fantastic, despite the fact its lyrics are repetitive (1985's `In a Hole') and that it sounds quite a lot like `Heat' - the version of `Teenage Lust' currently used in a beer-advert on TV! Opener `Dirty Water' sounds like a baggy Stones, `What the World is Waiting For' circa `Let It Bleed'; while `God Help Me' has a very suitable lead vocal from the great Pogue Shane MacGowan. The single `Sometimes Always' is the greatest song here, a duet between Mazzy Star's Hope Sandoval (then paramour of William Reid) and Jim Reid it sounds like a scuzzy update on Lee Hazlewood and Nancy Sinatra, - any fan of Calexico should love it! `Stoned and Dethroned' has aged well and along with `Psychocandy', I think it's the pick of the current reissues of the Jesus and Mary Chain.
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on 14 April 2010
Stoned & Dethroned is the fifth album by the Scottish alternative band The Jesus and Mary Chain. For the first time since Psychocandy, JAMC recorded with an actual full band. ", After making a name for themselves with a blistering, beach boys fuzz-infused wall of sound, the Jesus and Mary Chain took a side step and produced some really beautiful heartfelt works of art including the iconic single "Sometimes Always" (a duet with pop goodness Hope Sandoval of Mazzy Star fame). The previous four albums by nature were dank, tense, indie rock as they distorted their way to precocious legend and created an iconoclastic backdrop of self-destruction synonymous with that speaker filling feeling. But that all ended with this album which comprises largely of minimalist acoustic, ballads incorporating elements of uplifting and thoughtful and unseemly Jim Morrison sexiness. The sound is also menacingly like Nirvana unplugged. The songs are well crafted, and a fine addition to a JMC fan's collection..

The Jesus And Mary Chain never got their due when it came to songwriting. Fact is, few could take two or three basic chords and craft the kind of simple yet memorable melodies like these guys. Yet the focus was always on the noise, the feedback, the attitude and their legendary early shows, 20-minute walls of noise. They could write good pop tunes, but no one talked about that. While the band's earlier albums are marked by sometimes rampant egoism and self-obsession William and Jim Reid wrote, produced and performed all of their own stuff with drum machines or token band members. Take the feedback away from their earlier material and you have boppy pop songs with twisted lyrics, which is just what you'll find here.

However at 17 tracks long its a little on the long side. get rid of three or four and you've got a great album. This is pretty much the sound of Honey's Dead, just played on acoustic guitars, with the same great rhythm section that gives it a nice full sound rather than a sparse ballad-y sound. Very good little pretty pop songs, easygoing with it's addictive tambourines, melancholic at the right measure. It's a real pop pleasure....

Forget the negative hype enjoy, but unfortunately this album was signalled the death of the Mary Chain who had been around for more that ten years. But what a legacy they have left behind.
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on 6 October 2011
This album has been widely condemned by critics as the start of the Mary Chain's decline. It certainly marked the point at which the band strayed furthest from its original blueprint of feedback, distortion and pile-driver drums but many of the ingredients that originally made the band interesting and enjoyable (let's face it they never achieved anything approaching greatness) are still here most notably the lazy, drawled vocals, the laid back approach to the songs and the attitude we first encountered on "Some Candy Talking". Critics seemed surprised at the decision of the band to adopt a kind of lazed-out, hazy americana sound as though those early experiments with surf culture had been forgotten but in many ways this provided the perfect foil to the band's attitude and in Hope Sandoval the Reids found a vocalist whose delivery matched Jim's in its laid-back yet intense style. The excellent "Sometimes Always" is the highpoint of this album and fans of Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan's recent albums will find plenty to enjoy in this duet.

Elsewhere the screaming feedback is replaced by beautifully recorded acoustic guitar, much subtler drums and a lighter, airier sound which allows the songs to breathe in a way that the intense and claustrophobic material on earlier albums deliberately did not. In achieving this the songs evoke the wide open spaces of the United States in ways that many American artists have failed to achieve. Early listens will reveal most of this album's pleasures and longevity is not its strong points but it will certainly provide enjoyment and may surprise many who thought that JAMC were just about walls of noise.
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