London Camden Monarch

They stick with a tried and trusted template of caustic ennui...

When the [a]Jesus & Mary Chain[/a] finally imploded onstage in America in 1998, it was a tawdry end to a once magnificent band. Guitarist William Reid might have bounced back relatively swiftly with his own decidedly idiosyncratic folk project, but it’s taken his brother Jim a good deal longer to get over the shock.

Freeheat represents his first public attempt to resurrect his status as a rock’n’roll iconoclast. And, backed by long-term Mary Chain guitarist Ben Lurie, Earl BrutusNick Sanderson on drums and former Gun Club bassist, Romi, the initial signs are promising.

At a point when the Mary Chain‘s influence is as pronounced as ever, both in a new wave of guitar bands (My Vitriol, Terris, etc) as well as in older hands such as Death In Vegas, Jim has opted for what he knows best. Fuzzed-out and shambolic (15 years on, he still can’t tune his guitar), Freeheat offer an expert lesson in wasted garage rock. Musically, they’re still circling the same trough of Bo Diddley riffs, while lyrically – especially on songs like ‘Fucked Up Lover’ and ‘Back On The Water’ – they stick with a tried and trusted template of caustic ennui, but the fact remains, no-one since has done it better.

As their guitars whistle into oblivion on the closing ‘Two Of Us’, it feels good to have this tunnel vision back again. Whether a wider world agrees, though, we’ll have to wait and see.