Proof that underneath all the noise and provocation of their early gigs and releases, The Jesus And Mary Chain were first and foremost a damned good rock and roll band doing their bit to keep the western world from imploding. Or more to the point, encouraging the right kind of implosion. Stark and raw, bleak but beautiful, like those first hints of spring sunlight after a long, bitter winter, and even then you know there are some fierce winds yet to blow. Because the Winter of Hate was a long one, no question there. Ended up lasting more than a decade.
The Boo Radleys didn’t get much notice at the time (certainly over here in the Americas), and what notice they did get tended to be for the wrong stuff), but if you were in the right place in 1991-92-93, tuned to the right frequencies, you were lucky enough to know a godlike, noisy and powerful pop that could cause actual changes in the weather. Maybe if they’d bothered to put something as gobsmackingly ascendant as At The Sound of Speed on an actual album as opposed to burying it on the b-side of an EP, things might have played out a little differently.
Dynamite pop nugget from Cowboys International, one of those so-called post-punk outfits out of England that came, blew hearts and minds, then went long before we even knew existed over here in the Americas. M[emorie] stands out because of the cool, old school analogue synth work, and guitars that truly ring like bells.
In which the Buzzcocks unleash a short, sharp fever of pure and beautiful pop with punk in its soul. Or is it the other way around? One thing is clear. They were one of (if not the first) bands to have it both ways, and we’ll forever love them for that. Just because you’re mad as hell doesn’t mean you can’t be pretty, too.
The Stone Roses hit like a fresh breeze in 1989 with the only album of theirs’ the world would ever need. The lyrics may have worked a dark edge but the sound was all cool light, a powerful pop that was also ethereal, expansive, exploding with the sort of complex colours that the decade in question had mostly forgotten even existed. The future looked good.
In which the (comparatively) early Roxy Music remind us that among other cool and artful tricks, they could kick out rock solid power pop that was years ahead of its time. From 1974’s Country Life. Brian Eno is already gone but this remains one cool and strong and innovative band.