...As an introduction to Linda Reid, you are left distinctly underwhelmed.
Alex Forster 2007
As the trademark Jesus And Mary Chain distorted, scuzzy guitars subside, the second wave – nostalgia - crashes in. This record could have been made 15 years ago. Not always a bad thing, indeed it treads the line between classic and anachronistic with all the swagger of its creators. The new dynamic to an unchanged formula is the inclusion of JAMC brothers William and Jim Reid’s younger sister Linda – Sister Vanilla – who also sang on the last JAMC album Munki. Possessed of a sweet, listless voice – which often complements the Reid brother’s feedback-infused psychedelia – the overwhelming feeling, however, is of another JAMC record.
Sister Vanilla feels like a bit part in her own show. This is compounded by the sense that she’s been drafted in to sing lyrics her brothers couldn’t get away with today ‘I’ve been running from A to B, no more hookers and LSD’ (“What Goes Around”) Commendable as it is that the once mischievous Reid brothers have cleaned up their act, it’s still a lyrical clanger that leaves you cringing more than watching former member Bobby Gillespie cling to his lone gone 90s cool.
The pop sensibility that was as much a part of JAMC’s aesthetic as uncombed hair is in full swing on “Down” and the chugging “Jamocolas”. These more vintage Reid-brothers moments are offset by tender tracks “Angel” and “Pastel Blue”, where Linda’s fragile, if sometimes a little thin, vocal comes into it’s own.
Though undoubtedly ardent JAMC fans will adore Little Pop Rock, it rather misses the point. The lingering feeling is of a Reid brother’s side project. As far as giving the people what they want, it delivers, as for an introduction to Linda Reid, you are left distinctly underwhelmed.