Just a few years into their official recording career, the Jesus and Mary Chain had enough B-sides, outtakes, and other things sitting around to warrant a collection of nearly all of them, thus Barbed Wire Kisses. A welcome inclusion is the original debut single on Creation, "Upside Down," which in terms of the mix alone makes Psychocandy sound like Boston. Unfortunately the flip side cover of the Pink Floyd rarity "Vegetable Man" doesn't make it, but obvious inspirations the Beach Boys get saluted twice, once through a heavily thrashed-up cover of "Surfin' USA" that's pure Psychocandy in fidelity and impact, then again through a hilarious parody. "Kill Surf City" is pure Brian Wilson circa 1963 in melody, but the lyrics are something else again -- death, doom, destruction, and a bit of love here and there -- and the end result is a truly nutty combination. Another double tribute is given to Bo Diddley; his "Who Do You Love" becomes a low, menacing lope, echo cranked up high, while "Bo Diddley Is Jesus" just about says it all in the title, while of all bands, Can gets a nod via a cool live cover of "Mushroom." A single came with the whole thing as well, "Sidewalking," one of the band's best yet. Taking a T. Rex-styled glam strut and running it through their trademark clang'n'scrape feedback wringer, it's a monstrous track, the best song from the group since their Psychocandy days. A large number of tracks essentially continue the Psychocandy aesthetic without adding much to it, though those not entirely taken with Darklands will find much to love with the likes of "Head" and "Cracked." Meanwhile, two alternate versions of album cuts -- an acoustic take on "Taste of Cindy" and a neat demo take of "On the Wall" -- add to the fun.
AllMusic Review by Ned Raggett