Mary Jane are a 3 piece outfit from Huddersfield featuring Teri Flynn on vocals/bass, Rachel Goulding on guitars and drummer Ben Carter. This debut sampler, What I Came For was produced by Killing Joke‘s Geordie Walker, and recorded in Prague at Faust Studios.
This is a band that are pretty hard to describe because, in all honesty, they lack any outstanding characteristics that it would be easy to hang even a modicum of descriptive tagging onto. Therefore, it’s always hard when you are left so utterly non-plussed by someone.
Most of the pundits are calling them ‘punk’ or ‘grunge’ – so, ok let’s say they kind of fall into that category, and definitely not garage, hardcore or disco. If truth be told, they are a very bland type of punk, the ultra safe side of anything that could even be considered remotely ‘punk’. The lyrics are all based around internal/introverted relational type angst, with the constant adolescent projection of ‘don’t give a damn about anything’-ness but really trying so hard to convince us that they don’t give a damn that such claims ring hollow.
Musically constricted and cosy, the overall impression is that of a claustrophobic tapestry of sound in which every thread seems to be following exactly the same route, lacking depth or deviation, and leaving the listener tired and irritated. It’s like the female American punk version of the English male pop anthem circa early 1990s – every track a repetitive bashing mono-tune, every instrument seems to be following the same dull melody and rhythm, even the singer modulates with little variation in tone or even – unfortunately – volume.
Oddly though, as mentioned before, they are not actually American but hail from Huddersfield, and while they have been compared to several rather ‘out there’ punky contemporaries I would have to say they are really just a poor man’s Avril Lavigne, only with considerably less sophistication.
It’s very hard to imagine who on earth would listen to this kind of music given any choice at all. It is unengaging in the extreme with little of interest to say at all. However, it may be of interest to supermarket managers on the look out for new inoffensive background music.