Music Review

The Jesus and Mary Chain – Sunset 666 (Live at Hollywood Palladium)

todayAugust 10, 2023 188

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By – Jason Hamric

For fans of Suicide, The Velvet Underground, The Shangri-Las, noisy feedback, reverb, Creation Records and confrontation 

As a devout fan of feedback, shoegaze and timeless melodies, I was eagerly anticipating The Jesus and Mary Chain’s new album, “Sunset 666 (Live at Hollywood Palladium)” – It does NOT disappoint, and succeeds in being a testament to the band’s enduring brilliance.  I’ve had the privilege of experiencing the evolution of The J&MC sound, and this live album is a resounding reminder of the band’s influence and time-defying allure.  note- (I know J&MC aren’t necessarily what some might call  “shoegaze” per se but for the sake of this review that’s what we’ll call it.  So F off)

First, let’s talk about how great J&MC sound on this album, particularly since they aren’t the brash young gents that started the band back in 1983.  It’s astonishing how well they’ve managed to keep the raw energy and ethereal quality that defined their music from the start.  Although they may not still be poofing up their hair like Grandma Robert Smith (jk Craig) or being so ready to fist fight and dodge whisky bottles, the benefit to that is they may actually sound better live now more than ever!

The band opens the album with “Just Like Honey,” and you’re instantly reminded of their control and mastery of sonic textures.  With the swirling guitar feedback and Jim Reid’s haunting vocals they create an atmosphere that instantly transports listeners back to the band’s heyday.  A few songs down, “Head On” another of my favorite tracks pushes the album along with its irresistible blend of dirty, driving riffs and catchy melodies. The live recording injects an extra bit of urgency into the song, proving that J&MC still have ability to captivate an audience and remain as potent as ever.  “Teenage Lust” reminds the listener that there can be subtle versatility, with its more subdued, emotionally charged grind.  It definitely evokes a sense of bittersweet nostalgia, capturing the essence of youthful longing that really was so pervasive characterized the era. This track is a poignant reminder that noisy shoegaze isn’t just about the wall of sound, but also about the emotional depth.  “Reverence” takes the energy up several notches, exemplifying the band’s knack for blending noise and melody. This version accentuates the song’s cathartic release, with the audience’s excitement adding to the intensity and serves a prime example of how J&MC’s music transcends generational gaps, drawing in both old and new fans.  Another stand out track “Blues from a Gun,” is a true ear assault that exemplifies the band’s ability to write unapologetically powerful anthems. The spinning guitars and driving rhythm make for a powerful experience, leaving no doubt that the band can still rock out with the best of them.

I’ve seen J&MC probably 6 times (mostly from 1992-98) and “Sunset 666” is an incredible display of J&MC’s sonic debauchery and it’s ability to always just be a little cooler than you.  Each song feels like a peek into a different era, a clear documentation of the band’s evolution, and highlights the timeless appeal of that J&MC sound.  It’s a must-listen not only for long time fans of the band but also for anyone looking to experience the essence of “THAT SOUND” they pioneered and inspired in its purest form.

The Jesus and Mary Chain live on, and Sunset 666 is a beautiful testament to their enduring impact.

You can buy Sunset 666 (Live at Hollywood Palladium) anywhere you buy records.

And if you are in THE 205 ONLY at SEASICK RECORDS!

Written by: jamric

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