The Jesus and Mary Chain

Psychocandy

Blanco Y Negro // BYN 7 //1985

9.5
Psychocandy
1 Just like Honey
2 The Living End
3 Taste the Floor
4 The Hardest Walk
5 Cut Dead
6 In a Hole
7 Taste of Cindy
8 Never Understand
9 Inside Me
10 Sowing Seeds
11 My Little Underground
12 You Trip me Up
13 Something's Wrong
14 It's So Hard
;

TIMELINE

  • PSYCHOCANDY
    1985

  • DARKLANDS
    1987

  • BARBED WIRE KISSES
    1988

  • AUTOMATIC
    1989

The Jesus and Mary Chain

Psychocandy

Blanco Y Negro // BYN 7 //1985

9.5

Does anything more really need to be said about this record? A head-on collision of summery Beach Boys melodies and shrieking Metal Machine Music amplifier feedback, Psychocandy is the reason My Bloody Valentine switched gears from lame Cure-aping goth pop into the noisy epics they’d become known for. Originally signed to Creation Records for their seminal Upside Down 7”, the group would unleash their Shin-Ei FY-2 pedal-fueled sound, tape hiss and all, on Blanco Y Negro for their full-length debut.

Cribbing heavily from the Velvet UndergroundPhil Spector and Echo and the Bunnymen, Psychocandy moves effortlessly from reverb-drenched dream pop on “Just like Honey” and “The Hardest Walk” to vitriolic lo-fi punk on “The Living End”, “In a Hole” and “Inside Me”. You’ve also got nods to the Ramones’ snotty brand of staccato-riffing punk pop on “Never Understand” and “My Little Underground”.

Summery ‘50s melodies abound on the fuzz-drenched “You Trip Me Up” and the heroin-referencing “Taste of Cindy”. The S&M-themed “Taste the Floor” and “It’s So Hard” are darker, highlighting the Joy Division-style bored vocals of Jim Reid (or was it his brother William? I forget) and the abrasive gothic influence of the Birthday Party at their least approachable.

It’s difficult to overstate just how well Psychocandy balances noise and melody. And it’s still incredibly noisy, even 30 years on, when lesser bands are all too happy to use feedback to obscure the lack of actual songs. A thin sheen of lo-fi distortion permeates all but the softest tracks (“Cut Dead”), while louder tracks are unapologetically generous in their helpings of ear-shattering amplifier squall. With nearly all of the tracks coming in under 3 minutes (a trick the Raveonettes used to great effect), the record never feels too long or too samey. A classic for a million reasons, but mostly because their influence can be seen across genres running the gamut from C86 twee pop like Beat Happening to the druggy space rock of Spacemen 3.