Don't Worry, Be Happy

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In 1998, after two full decades playing music together as the Jesus & Mary Chain, the Reid brothers had their last punch-out. They even chose to do it on-stage, at the House of Blues in Hollywood, three short songs into their last set on the band's Munki tour. Afterwards, they went their separate ways and occasionally found ways to snipe at each other through the U.K. press. The band's fans wondered what might become of the squabbling siblings. In 2000, those questions were answered when Jim Reid finally resurfaced with a new band, Freeheat, which he'd formed with longtime Jesus & Mary Chain guitarist Ben Lurie, drummer Nick Sanderson (ex-Earl Brutus), and female bassist Romi Mori (ex-Gun Club). Their first EP, Don't Worry, Be Happy, was just a taste, surely, of more to come. The four new songs revealed that Reid hadn't moved too far from his previous band's should-have-been-patented, feedback-drenched, guitar-driven sound. Here, Lurie's guitar histrionics are just as fuzzy and distorted as William Reid's lead guitar ever was. There's a "this is your voice on drugs" half-duet with Reid and Mori is a nice change of pace, although the pace isn't really much of a change from anything previously issued by the Jesus & Mary Chain. "Nobody's Gonna Trip My Wire" does, however, reveal they've been paying close attention to contemporary electronic sounds. Overall, "Shine on Little Star" is probably the best track, a barbed-wire kiss that harkens back to the Jesus & Mary Chain circa Darklands. In November 2001, Freeheat remixed and remastered this American-issued EP, re-titling it the Retox EP for release on the Outafocus label in Europe. The band added only one new song, "The Last Goodbye."

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