The Jesus & Mary Chain are part of a generation of musos flush with guitar talent, but as they gear up to release their first record in almost 20 years, frontman Jim Reid has realised that things are looking pretty lonely as they step back into the rock world.
Speaking to NME, Reid isn’t particularly stoked about where rock music and guitar music in general is at right now, claiming that it’s merely “limping” along in relation to other genres.
“There’s not much of guitar music left at the moment, I don’t hear many guitar bands out there,” he says.“It’s kinda pushed underground, guitar music seems to be limping at the moment.
“You can’t tell the difference now between a pop act and a rock band, the production makes them almost identical.”
He may have a good point there, considering that ‘Alternative Rock Artist of the Year’ at the iHeartRadio Music Awards was just won by the crossover pop duo Twenty One Pilots, who beat out the likes of Colplay to claim that dubious honour.
They also nabbed the alt-rock record and alt-rock song of the year honours, while the rather poppy outfit The Strumbellas also won the confusingly-similar ‘Best New Rock/Alternative Rock Artist’. Sure, Metallica and Disturbed did manage to hold it down and pick up rock album and rock artist honours respectively, but the newer bands that won here were definitely more on the crossover side of the equation.
‘Heathens’ is clearly rock music at its finest
The Grammys, too, didn’t give much cause to celebrate the state of modern rock bands, with the ‘Best Rock Performance’ being picked up by the late David Bowie, who beat out Disturbed’s divisive Simon and Garfunkel cover, Beyonce’s collaboration with Jack White, and Twenty One Pilots once again, with only Alabama Shakes really offering a slab of rock to latch onto. And when Panic! At The Disco and Weezer are still filling up the nominations for ‘Best Rock Album’, it’s hard not to wonder when the next wave of rock talent will come along to sweep them away.
Award shows like these may only represent the most mainstream of perceptions about the state of rock music, and we all know that there are plenty of younger bands hammering out some incredible work in the genre both here and in the US, but it’s easy to understand why a Scottish shoegaze legend is questioning the health of rock music when it’s represented on the biggest stages either by aging legends, or newer acts that are definitely stretching the definition of ‘rock’ to its breaking point by having scarcely picked up a guitar.
You can give the new Jesus & Mary Chain track a spin below for their take on a 2017 rock effort.