Freeheat – Back On The Water (Planting Seeds Records)

Hard to believe it’s been eight years since The Jesus and Mary Chain imploded. Harder to believe is that the once prolific Reid brothers haven’t released much new music since then. There were a few haphazard projects (Lazycame and Sister Vanilla), but no real indication they were ready to pick up where they left off. Back on the Water, Freeheat’s first full-length album, doesn’t do much to change that notion. The album has seven studio tracks recorded by Jim Reid and Jesus and Mary Chain bassist Ben Lurie in 1997, and ten tracks recorded live as a four-piece (including members of The Gun Club and Earl Brutus) in 2003. The studio tracks are the best of the bunch, sounding like Munki-era Jesus and Mary Chain demos (essentially what they were). The live tracks don’t work as well, with the poorly recorded drums often falling out of synch with the rest of the music. While Freeheat’s songs are decent, Jim’s tendency for self-loathing lyrics about sex, drugs and rock’n’roll are hard to stomach for seventeen songs, and a tad silly for a man his age. Back On The Water definitely won’t make anybody forget Psychocandy.