Arguably Psychocandy is an album with one trick and one trick alone -- Beach Boys melodies meet Velvet Underground feedback and beats, all cranked up to ten and beyond, along with plenty of echo.
However, what a trick it is. Following up on the promise of the earliest singles, the Jesus and Mary Chain with Psychocandy arguably created a movement without meaning to, one that itself caused echoes in everything from bliss-out shoegaze to snotty Britpop and back again.
The best tracks were without question those singles, anti-pop yet pure pop at the same time: "Just Like Honey," starting off like the Ronettes heard in a canyon and weirdly beautiful with its bells, "You Trip Me Up" and its slinking sense of cool, and most especially "Never Understand."
Storming down like a rumble of bricks wrapped in cotton candy and getting more and more frenetic at the end, when there's nothing but howls and screaming noise, it's one hell of a track. However, at least in terms of sheer sonic violence and mayhem, most of the other cuts were pretty hard to beat, as sprawling, amped-up messes like "The Living End" (which later inspired both a band and a movie title) and "In a Hole."
"My Little Underground" is actually the secret gem on the album, with a great snarling guitar start, an almost easygoing melody and a great stuttering chorus -- not quite the Who but not quite anything else.
What the Reids sing about -- entirely interchangeable combinations regarding girls, sex, drugs, speed, and boredom in more or less equal measure -- is nothing compared to the perfectly disaffected way those sentiments are delivered. Bobby Gillespie's "hit the drums and then hit them again" style makes Moe Tucker seem like Neil Peart, but arguably in terms of sheer economy he doesn't need to do any more. ~ Ned Raggett
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 15. Suck 16. Ambition 17. Just Out of Reach 18. Boyfriend's Dead 19. Head 20. Cracked
1. Upside Down 2. Vegetable Man 3. In a Hole 4. You Trip Me Up 5. Never Understand 6. Taste the Floor 7. The Living End 8. Inside Me 9. Just Like Honey 10. Some Candy Talking 11. Psychocandy 12. You Trip Me Up 13. Cut Dead 14. Up Too High Demo 15. Upside Down Demo 16. Never Understand Demo 17. Taste the Floor Demo 18. In a Hole Demo 19. Something's Wrong Demo 20. Just Like Honey Demo 21. The Living End 22. My Little Underground 23. Never Understand Alternate Version 24. Jesus Fuck Outtake
Disc 3 (DVD)
1. Never Understand Video 2. You Trip Me Up Video 3. Just Like Honey Video 4. In a Hole Live on Old Grey Whistle Test 5. Riot at North London Polytechnic: Interview and Live Clips 6. Interview on VRT, Belgium 7. Never Understand Live on VRT, Belgium 8. Just Like Honey Live on The Tube 9. Inside Me Live on The Tube