The Jesus and Mary Chain - Psychocandy Live
Here's a confession: on release, I was a little underwhelmed by Psychocandy. And not in a 'Oh, I've heard it all before' sense, but in an 'Actually, I have heard a lot of this before' sense. Released in November 1985, the debut from East Kilbride's The Jesus and Mary Chain featured previously issued singles ('Never Understand', 'You Trip Me Up' and 'Some Candy Talking'), while other tracks had been used on b-sides or on the three John Peel sessions the band had recorded by the time the album hit the racks. Like Never Mind The Bollocks before it, it seemed a little like a mopping up exercise rather than the bruising punch to the midriff made by those first encounters. The 'shock of the new' had already dissipated. Thirty years on you can simply judge it on its merits - a largely peerless collection of noise pop - but I'd still say the Reid brothers are best consumed in sub-three minute mix-tape bursts, alongside Buzzcocks, The Shangri-Las and Velvet Underground.
This new release has the band playing some material they never aired on stage back in the day, but mostly it's about seeking to unnecessarily cement Psychocandy in the 'Classic Albums' canon. Unnecessary because it's not up for debate - it's already in there. As with most live albums, it simply becomes a memento for those that were there on the night, and a 'play once and file away' trinket for everyone else. Better, perhaps, to dig through the archives and find some earlier recordings that help illustrate why, once JAMC appeared on the scene, nothing was ever quite the same again.