The Jesus and Mary Chain’s Damage and Joy is not only reminiscent of their previous material, but a re-invention of their sound. That is, their sound blooms while borrowing heavily from the indie-alternative ‘80s bands that they may have early on eschewed, and it works! This is most obvious in songs like the opener, “Amputation” and the closer, “Can’t Stop The Rock”, but there is a classic alternative thing going on all over, with the likes of “Black and Blue”, and then others playing a more relaxed jaunty pop sound?
For fans long awaiting a celebrated collection, there is still something here, as mentioned, but it is limited. “Simian Split” and “Get on Home” are pretty right on, and edgy enough. They are even darker in “War and Peace”, though, which does something different and they show their hand in a bittersweet sound. This bittersweet actually marks the peak in the album, despite the overall smooth alt-style.
“Always Sad” and “Song for a Secret” are both more familiar and decent alt-pop, and “Presidici (Et Chapaquidich)” is a radio friendly and neat sounding piece, but overall, the best songs are, for better or for worse, the ones that demonstrate their new true alternative movement.
Damage and Joy, as a whole, is as great as their edgy best. Don’t shoot the messenger, but try to keep expectations for Damage and Joy to the minimum though, as the great tracks mostly do a similar thing, and the exceptions generally are not as good.