(Blanco Y Negro, 1987)
As album number two rolled ’round, JAMC fankiddies had to say bye-bye to thump-man Mr. Gillespie and hello to Mr. Drum Machine, what with Bobby G having various heroin, ecstasy, and trendhopping commitments to take care of with Primal Scream. It was also time to wave so long to the sheets of feedback that had characterized previous releases, as the band took on a more streamlined, goth-pop sound for Darklands. Toodles! Aside from the rather-OK radio alt of the moody A-side, the “April Skies” 2x7” thankfully retains some of the noise-raunch of the Psychocandy days, most notably on the nasty, highly entertaining “Kill Surf City,” which (along with the group’s “Surfin’ USA” cover) is as fine a collision of the JAMC’s surf-rock and amp-freak love-affairs as you’re gonna find. “Bo Diddley is Jesus” attempts to stalk similar hero-nod turf by again marrying old sounds with new, and falls flat in the process thanks to a boring, sloppy performance that lacks entirely the good-natured piss ’n’ vinegar of “Kill Surf City.” Similarly, the live cover of Can’s “Mushroom” (presumably with Gillespie on drums) has nothing on the robotic tension of the original, making it another half-interesting failure, but I do at least have an EXCLUSIVE TALE to relate about this particular song: In 2000, I interviewed Michael Ivins, and, being a young lad who knew no better, “boldly” asked him what the deal was with the Flaming Lips ripping off Can wholesale with “Take Me Ta Mars.” As a chuckling Ivins told it, the Lips weren’t even aware of Can’s recording of “Mushroom” at the time, and actually thought that they were stealing from the Jesus and Mary Chain, who had recently included the song from this 7” on the Barbed Wire Kisses CD. Yeepers! I’ve never read/heard that story anywhere else, before or since… you think Ivins was giving me truth or mere chain-yank?