Psychocandy is the debut studio album by Scottish rock band the Jesus and Mary Chain. It was released in November 1985 on Blanco y Negro Records. The album is considered a landmark recording: its combination of guitar feedback and noise with traditional pop melody and structure proved influential on the forthcoming shoegazing genre and alternative rock in general.

Studio album by
Released18 November 1985
RecordedMarch–April 1985
StudioSouthern Studios, Wood Green, London
LabelBlanco y Negro
ProducerThe Jesus and Mary Chain
The Jesus and Mary Chain chronology
Singles from Psychocandy
  1. "Never Understand"
    Released: February 1985
  2. "You Trip Me Up"
    Released: May 1985
  3. "Just Like Honey"
    Released: September 1985

The album reached No. 31 on the UK Albums Chart and was preceded by three charting 1985 singles: "Never Understand", "You Trip Me Up", and "Just Like Honey". The band moved away from its abrasive sound with their follow-up album, 1987's Darklands.

Background and recording edit

After quitting their jobs in 1980, brothers Jim and William Reid formed The Jesus and Mary Chain with bass player Douglas Hart. Taking inspiration from German industrial band Einstürzende Neubauten, girl group the Shangri-Las and The Velvet Underground & Nico, they bought a Portastudio in 1983 when their father lost his job in a local factory and gave the brothers £300 from his redundancy money. The band recorded a demo tape containing the songs "Upside Down" and "Never Understand" which was heard by Glaswegian musician Bobby Gillespie, who in turn passed it on to his friend Alan McGee of Creation Records.[6] McGee was impressed with the tape and invited the band to play at a Creation Records showcase event in London, becoming the band's manager shortly afterwards.[7]

Following more London concerts, the Jesus and Mary Chain entered Alaska Studios in Waterloo, South London and recorded their debut single, "Upside Down". Released by Creation Records in November 1984 and featuring a B-side produced by Slaughter Joe, "Upside Down" sold out its initial pressing and ended the year by being placed at number 37 in John Peel's Festive Fifty.[7] After recruiting Gillespie as their drummer in late 1984, the Jesus and Mary Chain signed to the WEA subsidiary label Blanco y Negro, which had been established by Rough Trade founder Geoff Travis.[6] The band entered Island Studios to record with engineer Stephen Street but the sessions proved to be fruitless and the band returned to Alaska Studios for the recording of their second single, "Never Understand". The single was released by Blanco y Negro in February 1985, and in March that year they began recording their debut album with engineer John Loder at Southern Studios in Wood Green, North London.[7] Psychocandy was recorded in six weeks[6] and totalled £17,000 in recording and production costs.[7]

Music and lyrics edit

Psychocandy contains fourteen tracks with a total running time of thirty-nine minutes. The music has been described as "bubblegum pop drowned in feedback",[8] that fused "melody with obnoxious bursts of white noise."[9] Critics have noted the influence of classic '60s pop groups[10][7][11] such as the Beach Boys[12][10][13] and the Rolling Stones[13] alongside the work of rock bands the Velvet Underground,[12][10][7] the Stooges[10][11] and Suicide[11] on the album.

Lead vocals are handled by Jim Reid on this album, with the exception of "It's So Hard", sung by William Reid.

Release edit

The album includes the singles "Never Understand", "You Trip Me Up" and "Just Like Honey". Following reissue on CD in August 1986, the bonus track "Some Candy Talking", which was originally released on the namesake EP, was included on the album, only on the UK Blanco y Negro CDs released in 1986 and 1997; in the US, it was released on CD by Reprise in 1986 and American Recordings in 1993 without the bonus track. In 2006, the album was remastered and released in DualDisc format without "Some Candy Talking" to conform with the original playlist. In 2011, it was re-released (along with the other five studio albums) by Edsel in collaboration with Rhino as a two-CD set with extra tracks (singles, B-sides, demos and Peel Sessions) and a DVD (NTSC, all-region).

Reception and legacy edit

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic     [12]
Mojo     [14]
Q     [15]
Record Collector     [16]
Rolling Stone     [17]
The Rolling Stone Album Guide     [18]
Spin Alternative Record Guide9/10[20]
The Village VoiceA−[21]

On release Psychocandy received favourable reviews. Writing for NME, Andy Gill described the album as "a great searing citadel of beauty whose wall of noise, once scaled, offers access to endless vistas of melody and emotion",[22] while William Shaw of Smash Hits called it "a wonderful LP which should bring the Scottish brats the success they've missed out on so far".[23] Tim Holmes of Rolling Stone praised the band as "a perfect recombinant of every Edge City outlaw ethic ever espoused in rock."[24] In the end of year-roundups, the album placed at number two in NME's list of best albums of 1985,[25][26] number 3 in The Face,[27] and number 5 in Melody Maker.[28]

Subsequently, the album has frequently appeared in "best ever" album lists, such as Q magazine's "100 Greatest British Albums Ever", where it placed at number 88 in 2000.[29] In 2006, Q magazine placed the album at number 23 in its "40 Best Albums of the '80s" list.[30] In 2003, the album was ranked number 268 on Rolling Stone magazine's "The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time" list,[31] and 269 in a 2012 revised list.[32] The magazine also ranked the album number 45 on its list of the 100 Best Debut Albums of All Time.[8] AllMusic described the album as one that "created a movement without meaning to."[12]

In 2002 Pitchfork listed Psychocandy as the 23rd best album of the 1980s.[11] In their 2018 update of the list, the album was listed at number 40.[33] Slant Magazine listed the album at number 38 in its "Best Albums of the 1980s" list, saying, "Shaping fuzz into a potent, tactile instrument, The Jesus and Mary Chain helped establish the style of distortion-laden fogginess that would eventually become the foundation for shoegaze."[34] The album was also included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[35] PopMatters included Psychocandy in their list of the "12 Essential 1980s Alternative Rock Albums" saying, "it may still be the only noise pop LP anyone ever really needs to own".[1]

Track listing edit

All tracks are written by Jim Reid and William Reid, except where noted

1."Just Like Honey"3:03
2."The Living End"2:16
3."Taste the Floor"2:56
4."The Hardest Walk"2:40
5."Cut Dead"2:47
6."In a Hole"3:02
7."Taste of Cindy"1:42
8."Never Understand"2:57
9."Inside Me"3:09
10."Sowing Seeds"2:50
11."My Little Underground"2:31
12."You Trip Me Up"2:26
13."Something's Wrong"4:01
14."It's So Hard"2:37

Note: the 1986 CD release contains the extra track "Some Candy Talking", between "Taste of Cindy" and "Never Understand".

2011 2CD/1DVD reissue bonus tracks
15."Suck" 2:08
16."Ambition"Vic Godard3:31
17."Just Out of Reach" 2:09
18."Boyfriend's Dead" 1:43
19."Head" 3:53
20."Cracked" 3:48
2011 reissue disc two
1."Upside Down" 3:00
2."Vegetable Man"Syd Barrett3:35
3."In a Hole" (John Peel radio session, 23 October 1984) 2:41
4."You Trip Me Up" (John Peel radio session, 23 October 1984) 2:07
5."Never Understand" (John Peel radio session, 23 October 1984) 3:08
6."Taste the Floor" (John Peel radio session, 23 October 1984) 3:08
7."The Living End" (John Peel radio session, 3 February 1985) 2:15
8."Inside Me" (John Peel radio session, 3 February 1985) 3:01
9."Just Like Honey" (John Peel radio session, 3 February 1985) 2:49
10."Some Candy Talking" (John Peel radio session, 29 October 1985) 3:13
11."Psychocandy" (John Peel radio session, 29 October 1985) 2:01
12."You Trip Me Up" (John Peel radio session, 29 October 1985) 2:41
13."Cut Dead" (John Peel radio session, 29 October 1985) 2:47
14."Up Too High" (Portastudio demo, 1984/85) 3:44
15."Upside Down" (Portastudio demo, 1984/85) 3:10
16."Never Understand" (Portastudio demo, 1984/85) 3:18
17."Taste the Floor" (Portastudio demo, 1984/85) 3:06
18."In a Hole" (Portastudio demo, 1984/85) 2:42
19."Something's Wrong" (Portastudio demo, 1984/85) 3:27
20."Just Like Honey" (Alaska Studios demo, June 1985) 2:58
21."The Living End" (Alaska Studios demo, June 1985) 2:16
22."My Little Underground" (Alaska Studios demo, June 1985) 2:33
23."Never Understand" (alternate version) 3:25
24."Jesus Fuck" 2:30
2011 reissue bonus DVD
1."Never Understand" (music video)3:02
2."You Trip Me Up" (music video)2:27
3."Just Like Honey" (music video)3:02
4."In a Hole" (The Old Grey Whistle Test, 12 March 1985)3:40
5."Riot at North London Polytechnic – interview and live clips" (The NewMusic, 15 March 1985)6:46
6."Interview" (VRT, Belgium, 17 March 1985)2:29
7."Never Understand" (VRT, Belgium, 17 March 1985)2:54
8."Just Like Honey" (The Tube, 11 November 1985)3:08
9."Inside Me" (The Tube, 11 November 1985)2:44
10."Upside Down" (film trailer)2:21

Personnel edit

All personnel credits adapted from Psychocandy's liner notes.[36]

The Jesus and Mary Chain

Additional musicians

  • Karen Parker – backing vocals (1)
  • Laurence Verfaillie – backing vocals (7)[37]



  • Greg Allen – art direction
  • Alastair Indge – sleeve photography
  • Bleddyn Butcher – sleeve photography
  • Chris Clown – sleeve photography
  • Mike Laye – sleeve photography
  • Rona McIntosh – sleeve photography
  • Stuart Cassidy – sleeve photography

Charts edit

Chart performance for Psychocandy
Chart (1985–1986) Peak
Australian Albums (Kent Music Report)[38] 87
Canada Top Albums/CDs (RPM)[39] 92
Dutch Albums (Album Top 100)[40] 47
European Albums (Music & Media)[41] 81
New Zealand Albums (RMNZ)[42] 35
UK Albums (OCC)[43] 31
US Billboard 200[44] 188

Certifications edit

Certifications for Psychocandy
Region Certification Certified units/sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[45] Gold 100,000^

^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.

References edit

  1. ^ a b c Ramirez, AJ (11 February 2020). "Hope Despite the Times: 12 Essential Alternative Rock Albums from the 1980s". PopMatters. Archived from the original on 22 January 2018. Retrieved 11 February 2020.
  2. ^ "Noise Pop: Significant Albums, Artists and Songs, Most Viewed: AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 17 July 2012.
  3. ^ Jackson, Josh (13 July 2016). "The 50 Best Post-Punk Albums". Paste. Retrieved 26 August 2016.
  4. ^ Michael Wojtas (11 September 2015). "The Jesus and Mary Chain - Jim Reid on Touring "Psychocandy"". Under the Radar. Retrieved 22 December 2022.
  5. ^ Andy Gill (24 July 2015). "The Jesus And Mary Chain, Live at Barrowlands - album review". The Independent. Retrieved 22 December 2022.
  6. ^ a b c Lynskey, Dorian (26 October 2014). "The Jesus and Mary Chain on Psychocandy: 'It was a little miracle'". The Observer. Guardian News and Media. Retrieved 23 November 2014.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Marszalek, Julian (8 November 2011). "Brown Acid Black Leather: The Story Of The Jesus And Mary Chain's Psychocandy". The Quietus. Retrieved 24 November 2014.
  8. ^ a b "100 Best Debut Albums of All Time". Rolling Stone. 22 March 2013. Archived from the original on 25 March 2013. Retrieved 8 September 2017.
  9. ^ Gourlay, Dom (30 September 2011). "Jesus and Mary Chain – Deluxe Reissues". Drowned in Sound. Archived from the original on 14 July 2012. Retrieved 14 July 2012.
  10. ^ a b c d Jones, Chris (1 August 2007). "Review of The Jesus And Mary Chain – Psychocandy". BBC Music. Retrieved 14 July 2012.
  11. ^ a b c d "Staff Lists: Top 100 Albums of the 1980s". Pitchfork. 20 November 2002. Archived from the original on 27 December 2012. Retrieved 14 July 2012.
  12. ^ a b c d Raggett, Ned. "Psychocandy – The Jesus and Mary Chain". AllMusic. Retrieved 14 July 2012.
  13. ^ a b c Abebe, Nitsuh (4 August 2006). "The Jesus and Mary Chain: Psychocandy / Darklands / Automatic / Honey's Dead / Stoned & Dethroned". Pitchfork. Retrieved 14 July 2012.
  14. ^ Segal, Victoria (August 2006). "Hissy fits". Mojo. No. 153. p. 111.
  15. ^ Cameron, Keith (July 2006). "The Jesus and Mary Chain: Psychocandy / Darklands / Automatic / Honey's Dead / Stoned & Dethroned". Q. No. 240. p. 122.
  16. ^ "The Jesus and Mary Chain: Psychocandy". Record Collector. No. 394. November 2011. p. 87.
  17. ^ Edwards, Gavin (29 June 2006). "The Jesus and Mary Chain: Psychocandy". Rolling Stone. No. 1003. p. 74.
  18. ^ Sisario, Ben (2004). "The Jesus and Mary Chain". In Brackett, Nathan; Hoard, Christian (eds.). The New Rolling Stone Album Guide (4th ed.). Simon & Schuster. pp. 429–430. ISBN 0-7432-0169-8.
  19. ^ Manning, Sarra (April 1997). "The Jesus and Mary Chain: Psychocandy / Darklands / Barbed Wire Kisses / Automatic / Honey's Dead / The Sound of Speed / Stoned and Dethroned". Select. No. 82. p. 112.
  20. ^ Sheffield, Rob (1995). "Jesus and Mary Chain". In Weisbard, Eric; Marks, Craig (eds.). Spin Alternative Record Guide. Vintage Books. pp. 197–198. ISBN 0-679-75574-8.
  21. ^ Christgau, Robert (1 April 1986). "Christgau's Consumer Guide". The Village Voice. Retrieved 22 January 2016.
  22. ^ Gill, Andy (23 November 1985). "'Candy' Is Dandy!". NME. p. 35.
  23. ^ Shaw, William (20 November – 3 December 1985). "The Jesus and Mary Chain: Psycho Candy". Smash Hits. Vol. 6, no. 23. p. 80.
  24. ^ Holmes, Tim (27 March 1986). "The Jesus and Mary Chain: Psychocandy". Rolling Stone. Archived from the original on 22 June 2008. Retrieved 14 July 2012.
  25. ^ " ... NME End Of Year Lists 1985 ..." Retrieved 14 July 2012.
  26. ^ "Albums and Tracks of the Year". NME. 2018. Retrieved 30 August 2018.
  27. ^ " ...  ... The Face Recordings Of The Year ..." Retrieved 14 July 2012.
  28. ^ " ... Melody Maker Lists The '70's & '80's. ..." Retrieved 14 July 2012.
  29. ^ " ... Q magazine Recordings Of The Year". Retrieved 14 July 2012.
  30. ^ Q (241). August 2006. {{cite journal}}: Missing or empty |title= (help)
  31. ^ Levy, Joe; Van Zandt, Steven, eds. (2006) [2005]. Rolling Stone 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (3rd ed.). London: Turnaround. ISBN 1-932958-61-4. OCLC 70672814.
  32. ^ "500 Greatest Albums of All Time Rolling Stone's definitive list of the 500 greatest albums of all time". Rolling Stone. 2012. Retrieved 10 September 2019.
  33. ^ "The 200 Best Albums of the 1980s". Pitchfork. 10 September 2018. Retrieved 23 September 2018.
  34. ^ "Best Albums of the 1980s". Slant Magazine. 5 March 2012. Retrieved 14 July 2012.
  35. ^ Robert Dimery; Michael Lydon (23 March 2010). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die: Revised and Updated Edition. Universe. ISBN 978-0-7893-2074-2.
  36. ^ Psychocandy (CD). The Jesus and Mary Chain. Blanco y Negro Records. 1985. 242 000-2.{{cite AV media notes}}: CS1 maint: others in cite AV media (notes) (link)
  37. ^ niina. "april skies - the jesus and mary chain".
  38. ^ Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992 (illustrated ed.). St. Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. p. 154. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  39. ^ "Top RPM Albums: Issue 0651". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 10 February 2022.
  40. ^ " – The Jesus and Mary Chain – Psychocandy" (in Dutch). Hung Medien. Retrieved 19 September 2021.
  41. ^ "European Hot 100 Albums" (PDF). Eurotipsheet. Vol. 2, no. 48. 2 December 1985. p. 15. OCLC 29800226 – via World Radio History.
  42. ^ " – The Jesus and Mary Chain – Psychocandy". Hung Medien. Retrieved 30 August 2019.
  43. ^ "Official Albums Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 19 September 2021.
  44. ^ "The Jesus and Mary Chain Chart History (Billboard 200)". Billboard. Retrieved 19 September 2021.
  45. ^ "British album certifications – Jesus & Mary Chain – Psychocandy". British Phonographic Industry. 17 November 1988. Retrieved 19 September 2021.

External links edit