COULD THERE be a more quintessential Jesus and Mary Chain lyric than, "To old to crucify, but too young for suicide", the opening line of 'Song For A Secret', from their first new album in almost 20 years.
Yet, while that lyric has the same reckless swagger of the declaration which opened 1992's Honey's Dead, "I wanna die just like Jesus Christ", the sentiment is different. These days Jim and William Reid still have attitude, and as much to say as they ever did ("I hate my brother and he hates me," they admit on 'Facing Up To The Facts' ), but there is no talk of going out in a blaze, rather a desire to embrace life through a wonder-struck joy of the transformative powers of love: "I met a boy...and all my friends say he is the other half of me," guest vocalist Isobel Campbell declare son 'The Two Of Us', before joining with Jim in the chorus: "The two of us are getting high/we don't need drugs 'cause we know how to fly."
Musically, Damage and Joy is more Honey's Dead territory, than Psychocandy, yet without sounding as if it is stuck in a nineties timewarp. It boasts fine indie melodies, a knack for a catchy/anthemic chorus, while retaining an unapologetic toughness at it' core. Overall, a worthwhile and welcome comeback - and that's not something you can say everyday.