Floppy-haired feedback merchants The Jesus And Mary Chain are well and truly back among us, building on last year’s acclaimed comeback gigs with a juicy double-header at one of London’s grandest venues, The Roundhouse.
Formed by Glaswegian brothers Jim and William Reid in 1984, the Mary Chain blazed a trail for scuzzy-but-melodic indie rock, helping to launch a nascent Creation Records while also foisting a young Bobby Gillespie upon the world.
The band disappeared for a decade, however, following the brothers’ fractious relationship during the recording of 1998’s ‘Munki’ album, and rows at subsequent shows. Their September ’98 gig at LA’s House of Blues has become particularly folklore-friendly, Jim stumbling on stage in a drunken state and William storming off shortly afterwards.
They spent the intervening period working on low-profile side-projects but finally reformed last year, for California’s influential Coachella Festival. There they were joined onstage by a be-hatted, hot-panted Scarlett Johansson, who duetted with Jim on ‘Just Like Honey’, the opening track of their classic 1985 LP ‘Psychocandy’. She may have been about a year old when that record came out but subsequently developed a strong bond with the tune, it having been used on the closing credits of her breakthrough movie Lost In Translation.
More US dates followed, including an appearance on influential US chat show Late Night with David Letterman, then a few dates in Europe, notably a performance at the Jarvis Cocker-curated Meltdown Festival. In the meantime they’ve been working on a new album, and there’s a new box-set all set to drop too, so this might just be a mighty year for the Mary Chain. It’s just a shame that those quiffs are so un-floppy these days.
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