Album Review: “Glasgow Eyes” by The Jesus and Mary Chain

I would be remiss if I didn’t review Glasgow Eyes by The Jesus and Mary Chain, just given that they’re one of my all-time favorite bands. I’d heard that this album was a slightly different sound than their other work, so I’ve been looking forward to checking it out.

My immediate impression is that, while at its heart you can tell it’s a Mary Chain album, their sound has crystalized. And not in a, “we’ve been doing this for 40 years so fuck off” sort of way, although you get that vibe, too. No, crystalized as in, you can hear the distortion clearly at the same time it blows out your speakers. This album showcases the Mary Chain experimenting with synths and electronics, with a more refined production.

This is particularly obvious on “Venal,” where the synths are immediately obvious without being heavy handed. I liked the line “addicted to love so we can fuck on the table.” It reminded me of the lyric from “April Skies”: “making love on the edge of a knife.” (Guess the band have graduated to something rougher?) The drum beats here are heavy on the bridge, and there’s a faster beat than other Mary Chain songs. But it works. They evolved without making it jarring.

The synths elsewhere are delicate, as on “American Born.” The song features more of a wobbly reverb and a slinky, almost elastic beat. The vocals are distorted (classic Mary Chain), but you can make out their description of what it means to be American. The lyrics remind me of “New York City.”

Other standouts on the album are “Mediterranean X Film” and “Hey Lou Reed.” The first song is unique in that it has spoken word lyrics at the beginning, rather than singing. Its synths are beepy, like in “American Born,” but the vocals are produced really nicely. Meanwhile, “Hey Lou Reed” is a perfect shoutout to the godfather of shoegaze. The vocals here are drowned out by synths, which are in turn drowned out by reverb and heavy drums.

My rating? 4 stars out of 5.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *