As indie rock has burrowed ever further into the mainstream, becoming less a signifier of a record label’s heft and more a defined sound, its major releases have grown ever more prominent and successful. Where once indie was an upstart, jangling sound, nowadays it can be huge commercial concern, with groups and artists gaining critical love along with hefty payouts.
Often this is a great thing to see, with bands that would once have struggled to make ends meet now rolling in well deserved lucre. On the flip side, though, it’s not uncommon to find that the most successful, award winningest albums of any given year just aren’t all that.
Dwelling in negativity is never a nice thing, so think instead of this being a chance to redress the balance. Music isn’t exactly a zero sum game, but there are only so many hours in the day, so every minute spent listening to a band that’s overhyped, overblown, or simply overplayed is a minute that could be spent listening to something a little more interesting.
Whether these records simply gained undue prominence due to press hype or zeitgeist-grabbing timing, or if they were simply never all that good in the first place, they go to show that everyone makes mistakes, sometimes all at once.
10. The Jesus And Mary Chain - Psychocandy
The Reid brothers cultivated one of the all-time great sounds on their 1985 debut album. Psychocandy takes the pop hooks and bubblegum melodies of The Beach Boys and Phil Spector girl groups, and drenches it in layers of echo, distortion, and detachment. The Scottish band came out of the gates with a musical style many bands would strive for years to achieve.
And while Psychocandy is a singular piece of art with an overriding notion, it can get oppressively samey when taken as a whole. An album with a distinct sound is no bad thing, but Psychocandy can become trying as a result. Indeed there are few songs that aren’t at least good, and often great - “Taste Of Cindy” is beautifully put together and “Never Understand” a welcome burst of pace.
But the lesser tracks are slogs, and by closer “It’s So Hard”, you’ll be ready for the relatively short album to come to an end. Jesus And Mary Chain fans tend to go wild for the band, insisting they need a lot of investment to truly “get” - maybe it’s worth it, but should that really be necessary?