Having made a name for itself through its career for punishing noise combined with candy-coated hooks, the Jesus and Mary Chain took a sideways step on Stoned & Dethroned that actually worked rather handsomely. The Reids turned the emphasis toward much calmer, acoustic folk/country-tinged songs and, for the first time since Psychocandy, recorded with an actual full band, with Monti from Curve once again doing the drum honors and touring bassist Ben Lurie handling the same duties in studio. The appearance of Hope Sandoval on lead single "Sometimes Always" makes perfect sense, as Mazzy Star's electric/acoustic psych flow is, if not the inspiration for Stoned & Dethroned, a close enough cousin. "Sometimes Always" does indeed make for a lovely little duet, not quite a Lee & Nancy combination for a new generation, but a fine romp anyway, while on the other guest number Shane Macgowan from the Pogues takes a nicely mournful lead turn on "God Help Me." As for the album in general, the songs are much more than simply a toned-down Mary Chain -- it's almost as if the group were making its bid to finally demonstrate that it really was comprised of actual musicians, honest to goodness. What feedback there is appears as smoky atmosphere rather than skull-crushing scream, and oddly enough the end results almost suggest early-'70s Rolling Stones more than anything else, tinged as always with pure pop hooks and melodies. William's singing actually comes more to the fore than before, his warmer, less sneering vocals suiting the burned-out feeling of the album very nicely. A few songs could easily be full-on monsters -- the brief "Come On" and the almost uplifting "Girlfriend" in particular -- but, by and large, the drama is implicit rather than explicit.
AllMusic Review by Ned Raggett