New album release

By Emmett Overbey

This month, Warner Brothers releases the fourth album from The Jesus and Mary Chain. Their first three albums, “Psychocandy,” “Darklands,” and “Barbed Wire Kisses,” were all mighty good. A bit annoying, but rather enjoyable if taken in small doses.

The thing about the J+MC is that most of their songs sound exactly the same, except for a few which stick out like sore thumbs. For me, at least, those are the cool ones. “My Little Underground,” “Just Like Honey,” “Surfin‘ USA,” and “Mushroom Head” all come to mind as highlights of the early albums.

Now, back to this new album, which is called “Automatic.” I can’t decide if it’s good or bad. I guess it’s just new. The songs are all catchy and well-played, but there’s nothing distinctive about them. Their sound is still the same, although they’ve lost all that evil guitar feedback.

They’ve still got the same drum machine (either that or a very stiff drummer), and the vocals sound the same as they always have. Granted, I haven’t listened to this album many times, but I have a hard time telling the songs apart.

It’s difficult to review an album like this, because even though all the songs sound alike, they’re still pretty good. There’s not really any point in breaking it down song-by-song, because I’d say the same thing about each one. I will say, however, that my favorites are “Here Comes Alice,” “Bluse (sic) From a Gun,” and “Halfway to Crazy.” “Drop,” the obligatory one-per-album J+MC ballad, isn’t very impressive.

This band will sell albums based on their name alone, being one of the more well-known Cure-genre “New Wave” bands. “Automatic” isn’t a waste of money, but it isn’t a must-buy, either. So I guess it’s up in the air.

A word to prospective buyers: if this is going to be your first J+MC purchase, hold off until you hear their early stuff. Ease into it.

So, for a fourth release, “Automatic” lies somewhere between disappointing and blockbuster. One way these guys could really impress me is by selling a videotape of themselves beating up Love and Rockets with pool cues, but until then, this decent album will have to do.