Candy Land

October 3, 2011

It’s been 26 years since Scotland’s Jesus and Mary Chain unleashed the watershed “Psychocandy” LP, and its songs have been feeding back into my life ever since.

I still have the high-school notebook where I scrawled the opening lyrics to the song “Psychocandy” (which didn’t make it onto the LP but was released in 1986 as a B-side): “The wind is screaming around the trees for my psychocandy.” Throughout college, I dressed like drummer Bobby Gillespie in the “Never Understand” video. And the song my wife and I danced to at our wedding was “Just Like Honey.” The tune’s not exactly about romance, but we both loved it and figured the inappropriate lyrics would fly over the heads of most in attendance.

The Jesus and Mary Chain’s genius was its simplicity: Velvet Underground- and Phil Spector-inspired pop gems buried behind a curtain of white noise. The group’s complete 1984-1986 output is now available in a two-CD/one-DVD reissue that collects “Psychocandy” along with B-sides, acoustic rarities, unreleased versions and live performances — 44 tracks in all. It’s a snapshot of a band that influenced a generation — and a life.

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