This is a review of "What I Came Here For" recorded by Mary-Jane. The review was written by Joe Dennett in 2006.
I first heard Mary-Jane on Manifesta’s (the people behind the now sadly deceased Bar Phono’s Pussy Whipped club night) brilliant little compilation of all things riot grrl in Yorkshire - the not so catchily titled - …and besides everyone knows it‘s not just boys fun. Their track ’Lipstick’ was one of the standout tracks and a rerecorded version of said song is the opener on What I Came Here For. The difference between the two versions is apparent straight away. The newer recording is glossier and generally much more professional sounding, and I don’t mean ‘professional’ to be a dig at any punk credentials Mary-Jane may hold; the sound is bigger, crisper and reveals some pop credentials completely absent from the previous version.
While the new sound may herald bigger and better things for the Huddersfield trio it definitely isn’t their own. Mary-Jane sound more West Coast than West Yorkshire. If the last year of music coming out of Yorkshire has shown us anything its that there’s no need to imitate another sound. Bands who play on their regional idiosyncrasies are the new black (or brown, or whatever), especially if your region is Yorkshire.
It’s not to say they don’t pull it off, though. Second track ‘Love’ displays some ferocious guitar (what would you expect with Killing Joke’s guitarist Geordie Walker at the helm?).‘Truth’ Teri Flynn’s throaty Brody Dail-esque vocals crack, brood and yell in all the right places and are without a doubt the best thing about the band. Title track ‘What I Came Here For’ is slightly more down tempo than the other tracks and suffers slightly for being a love song caught in a mire of sludgy Nirvana-aping guitar. All in all What I Came Here For is a fair crack at a first recording and promises much better things to come for Mary-Jane.