Retrospectacle #1: The Stone Roses, The Stone Roses

Good music is certainly not a new thing. Everyone has made a “late” great discovery, a band or an album that you’d only heard of or had tucked away on your hard drive but never properly listened to. Perhaps you were only a child or teenager during a band’s prime. These “Retrospectacles” fill you with the joy of discovery but twinge with the regret of not finding them sooner. It’s is a journey through my late finds, some of them decades late, others just a few years, but all of them eventually gracing me with their fine presence.

The Stone Roses, The Stone Roses.

How the hell could I miss The Stone Roses? They are perhaps one of the most famous UK bands and their self titled first album stands amongst the best British albums of that era. Well… I have 2 (or 3) principal excuses.

1. I was 5 when the album came out.
2. 1989 was the year Jason Donovan and Kylie Minogue ruled the UK charts and my parents refused to listen to anything but top 40 and easy listening radio.
3. Anything remotely connected with the Madchester scene was shielded from the poor innocent Catholic children of the eighties. Drugs are bad.

The first song I properly heard from the band was “I am the resurrection”, a hugely ambitious meandering monster of a track. Starting as a simple 60’s style rock anthem which promptly descends into a rolling funk jam but full of grimy swagger. And it just. keeps. on. going. To me this track embodies everything that makes this album so great. Many bands try to mix and match genre’s but very few do it so well that it becomes their own unique sound.

Rock music that makes you want to dance? Yes its all the rage now but in Manchester it’s been around for decades. But this isn’t simplistic acid beats to bob your head to, The Stone Roses tickle and tease you, draw your attention to the details and reaching for the lyric sheet. The slow tracks ebb and flow on the Ian Brown’s Mancunian drawl. I wanna be adored? This album sure is.

Retrospectacle, a column from contributor Thom Lau, will appear on Tuesdays.

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