“DD Review: The Jesus and Mary Chain – Glasgow Eyes.”

Score: 5.5/10

What started out in the 1980s as a half-demented pop foursome in Glasgow He**-bent on making your ears bleed with guitar feedback (infiltrated the mixes on infinitely catchy songs, curiously enough) is now just a duo, composed of original members and blood brothers William and Jim Reid. True to form, Glasgow Eyes is a collection of terse, concise verse/chorus songs achieved with a drum machine and a reasonably precocious set of guitar pyrotechnics. 

Glasgow Eyes, though, is demarcated from the rest of this band’s releases for one reason that’s perhaps a little bit troubling. I don’t really know how better to but this than to say that Jim Reid seems to have issues. 

Now, I grew up in the ’90s, a time when it was almost cool to have “issues” (that’s the name of a Korn album, I think), and when blandness was considered the enemy. There was a strong anti-pop movement among guys, in general, toward heavily abrasive music like Nine Inch Nails, The Crystal Method, Powerman 5000 and Marilyn Manson, to kind of a span a couple of different zeitgeists, there. In lots of sectors, you were seen as a a douche bag if you liked, say, Third Eye Blind, and some critics even apparently lambasted bands just for being successful (Jim DeRogatis, et. al.).

Now, fortunately, Glasgow Eyes is, on the whole, more approachable than The Crystal Method. It is, though, littered with an uncomfortable amount of satire, the passable variety of which would include “Discotheque”; the painful, cringe-worthy permutation of which would be typified by the almost insufferable “American Born”; on which read inanely, repetitively and implicitly bashes Americans with apparently no reason at all and very little technique to speak of. 

On this same token, its to the credit of Glasgow Eyes that the band, on this LP, does seem to more often stray from their median, quarter-note drum machine groove on cutesy verse/chorus jingles. “Pure Poor” takes things down to a near-uncomfortable andante, threatening to dissolve into itself but saved repeatedly by tense chord progressions and this incessant, background guitar tone that’s kind of amusing for its sheer regularity (the song is called “Pure Poor”; after all, so paradigmatically, the band shouldn’t be using really expensive equipment on this cut). “The Eagles and The Beatles”; in its opening half-minute, finds the element of guitar return taken to an unprecedented squall, to then give way to faux-bubble-gum pop, rendered kitsch, of course, an interesting metamorphosis from the band’s founding technique of steady feedback rendered evenly throughout an entire, apparent pop song. 

Again, on “The Eagles and The Beatles”; the band seem to be making fun of something, or attempting to wield moral indignation against people who listen to music, or something bizarre like that. “Silver Strings” seems to just represent more strange, misanthropic and half-formed rancor from Reid, the gravity rendered by the darkness and tension residing on the border of intriguing and just weird. For all its forays into strange, dark new territories, that is, Glasgow Eyes is too unfocused and limp-wristed in its semantics to truly conjeal into anything cohesive, and lacks any hooks good enough to win over new fans to the band’s catalogue.  


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