A healthy dose of Psychocandy

It was one of the highlights of Coachella 2007.91xJPzgu-ZL._SL1417_

Scarlett Johansson duetting with reunited and scuzzy Scottish legends the Jesus and Mary Chain on Just Like Honey. Scarlett didn’t sing much, or even add anything apart from some eye candy to JAMC’s most beautiful song, but it was the unlikely combo of Hollywood’s latest star with grumpy old Jim and William Reid that made it memorable.

Scarlett was there mostly thanks to director Sofia Coppola having seamlessly woven Just Like Honey – and My Bloody Valentine’s Sometimes among other tunes – into Lost In Translation.

It wasn’t ideal seeing JAMC – one of my favourite “alternative” British bands of the late 80s and 90s – in a sprawling polo field-turned-festival site with 80,000 other Coachella revellers and ravers. But hearing songs like Never Understand (JAMC doing a punky Beach Boys) and the dead beat dancey thud of Blues From a Gun at typically ear splitting volume felt good.    

They even played – according to my very murky memory – Sidewalking that night, a glorious grind of a song. So they better play that song at their sold out Powerstation show in Auckland tonight. Chances are they won’t given it’s a tour where the band is playing the entirety of 1985 debut, Psychocandy. Which is fine by me. It’s worth celebrating the distortion and haze soaked record because it’s an album that was – and still is – both intriguing yet baffling, even for me and my weird-music-loving mates.      

It was poppy, but with a wall of beautiful noise and guitar feedback lashed and laced throughout the songs. It could be downright nasty too when it wanted with the ear drilling distortion of In A Hole and Taste the Floor.

Still, even though Psychocandy is regarded as a classic that ushered in the era of shoegaze, it’s songs and legacy made many queasy. People like my first year university room mate who we used to call Jim because he went to the gym a lot. Jim was a top chap but to be fair was more of a George Thorogood and the Destroyers man than the Jesus and Mary Chain.

After a hard-out gym session, or a few rounds of Tae Kwon Do, he used to bowl back intoIMG_0677 our room and if JAMC or My Blood Valentine was playing he’d implore me: “Scotty, turn this bumble bee shit off would ya.

Hey, while Jim may not have had much musical taste (he won’t mind me saying that because he always said I was a music snob), somehow, weirdly, he knew his stuff. Bumble bee music pretty much sums up the haze, the sting, and the honey-like qualities of JAMC’s songs.

Right then, I’m off for a big hit of Psychocandy.

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