Graded on a Curve:
The Stone Roses,
The Stone Roses

As a famous man (I think it was Geoffrey Chaucer) once said, time waits for no man. And in the case of Manchester’s The Stone Roses, the five long years that passed between this, their massively popular 1989 debut, and 1994’s Second Coming were fatal. Come Second Coming baggy pants and bucket hats were passe, and Britpop ruled England’s green and pleasant land.

Those five years may have been piddling compared to the 14 years that elapsed between Guns N’ Roses’ The Spaghetti Incident and Chinese Democracy, but those five years they were an eternity–during the same time span The Beatles went from Meet the Beatles to Abbey Road.

The Stone Roses’ half-decade of silence stemmed form a variety of issues, the most important of which was a protracted effort to sever ties with their record label, but it doesn’t much matter. In his poem “The Second Coming” (sound familiar?) William Butler Yeats foresaw a rough beast slouching towards Bethlehem, waiting to be born. The Stone Roses’ follow-up didn’t so much slouch towards the record stores as crawl, and by the time it arrived Engand’s notoriously fickle trend watchers had long since written them off.

None of which detracts from the fact that The Stone Roses is one killer LP. The album’s rave-friendly dance rhythms and hypnotic grooves would seem to put The Stone Roses in the same category as fellow Mancunians the Happy Mondays, but they took it the extra yard by fusing said dance rhythms with the Happy Daze psychedelic guitar sounds of the mid to late ‘60s. Like the Happy Mondays, The Stone Roses produced dance music, but they could rock the arenas as well.

The Stone Roses is the work of a band with a very high estimation of its talents. Ian Brown doesn’t want you to adore hem, he expects it as his proper due. He also proclaims himself the resurrection and the light, and for all I know rolled away the stone on the third day, dusted Kangol hat, and showed up for an interview with Channel 4 to promote the band’s latest festival gig.

The Stone Roses’ self-adulation was understandable–their debut remains one of the finest albums to emerge from Manchester’s burgeoning music scene. Aside from the blessedly brief “Elizabeth My Dear,” a shameless “Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme” rip that makes me want to hurl myself from the proverbial bridge over troubled waters, there isn’t an bum track in the bunch.

“I Wanna Be Adored” is pure psychedelic pomp pip with power chords tossed in. Both “I Am the Resurrection” and “This Is the One” are supersized dance anthems, while the appropriately titled “She Bangs the Drums” sets a powerful rhythm section to a chorus that will make you swoon. As for the hushed “Waterfall,” it makes for the perfect comedown from a night of e’s and whizz–wake up sleepy head, it’s lovely out there.

“Don’t Stop” is “Tomorrow Never Knows” set to a big rave beat; “(Song for My) Sugar Spun Sister” is a slice of uncut euphoria that brings to mind Jesus and the Mary Chain. “Made of Stone” is every bit as delirious-making as “I Am the Resurrection,” and boasts some ace guitar work by Jon Squire as well.

It may seem a paradox that Second Coming charted higher than the band’s debut. But don’t be mistaken; The Stone Roses missed the boat, and everyone attuned to the cultural Zeitgeist knew it. Had another LP come out sooner The Stone Roses might have cemented their rep and perhaps made inroads to the elusive American market.

As the English music critic Simon Reynolds sagely observed, “divorced from the cultural moment that gave them meaning, [the Stone Roses} were now just another band.” As it says in the bible, “Pride goeth before the fall, and don’t wait five years to put out your second album you thick shites.”

GRADED ON A CURVE:
A

This entry was posted in The TVD Storefront. Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.
  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


  • Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text
  • Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text