A bit of generation affirmation here if I can. When I first moved out of home I was living with 3 mates in a rented house. I was 19. With the restrictions of living at home gone we had some great times. A mate from school needed a place to crash and ended up sleeping on the sofa for a few months. One day he brought back the tape of this album.
I had read a lot about The Stone Roses in the NME and Sounds. I had not heard them. I didn’t want to, the picture the press was painting didn’t interest me. Eventually the tape found its way onto the tape player.
I Wanna Be Adored ambles in. It really is a teasing intro of the highest order. As you question why the press were getting in such a tizzy over the band in becomes all too apparent when Reni finally hits that snare drum. The drums have a pattern – they flow. Rock music doesn’t sound like this. This is delicate – but it works in pushing a vibe of dance music whilst still rocking. It’s crossing something over. Exactly what I wasn’t sure – but it’s one hell of an album opener.
She Bangs The Drum also teases in. Less so than the opener, it widens much quicker than I Wanna Be Adored. It’s not a better track – but it’s no worse too. Jangling it echoes indie but it sounds so cock-sure that the band are taking things to another level from indie altogether.
Waterfall sees the band hint at psychedelia. Ethereal intro out the way and they’re plodding along with an undeniable level of majesty. Dipping and rising the band echo records from your parents record collection. Just when it’s sounding tame they let loose an indie burst. A very restrained guitar wah’s – then those crashes. It rises at the end in a way that will make anyone smile. Blissful.
Don’t Stop – washes with backtracked loops. I have always dismissed The Beatles as they were just too old for me. Dumb to have this stance I know, but true. Here we see The Stone Roses display qualities that surely mark them as a new Beatles?
Bye Bye Badman – sounds – like a lullabye. It’s gentle initially before heading off down a very smiley avenue. Checking and regathering before it runs away with itself it’s a track that has very warming qualities. With lyrics that turn on you “I’ve got bad intentions, I intend to knock you down” the upbeat music continues whilst the band stand still cock-sure of what they’re laying down.
Elizabeth My Dear – is almost Jethro Tull like, nooooooooo. Quintessentially English and a nice unedited guitar scrape save it.
(Song For My) Sugar Spun Sister is hush and teasing too. The tracks winds and builds whilst displaying fantastic musicianship.
Made Of Stone – is one of the best tracks on the album. Somehow conjuring up images of Manchester in it’s intro it – just works. With a slightly dark undertone, the music and vocal are light, this pulls you in deep. For the first time on the album John Squire really lets loose a guitar streak that will make neck hairs pop-up. It’s almost an understated guitar break – but it really hits the spot. i heard this track in a pub after not hearing it for about 14 years – it was a magical moment. A great track.
Shoot You Down – is hush, hush, hush. Noodles and shuffles. The band sound nothing like the NME suggested, they sound great!
This Is The One – uses all of the formula so far displayed. Teasing intro. Hush. Cock-sure. Rising and dipping. “I’d like to leave this country” the vocal paints near beautiful imagery. The way Ian Brown hushes “This Is The One” in a snarling whisper is fantastic, before the track checks itself and spurts to a triumphant outro.
I Am The Resurrection” needs no write up. Oh well, here goes. That drum intro would fill dance floors in seconds. Other tracks, by other bands, can do this – but in 1989 people would scream when this came on. Defiant vocals “your face, it has no place, no room for you inside my house, I need to be alone”. This defiant anti-anthem is more venomous than your ears may suggest.
By the time Ian Brown delivers the lyric “I Am The Resurrection” it has knocked the subject so much that it surprises in that it lyrically backtracks. “I couldn’t ever bring myself to hate you as I Fly”. Defiant. Supremely assured, yet somehow acknowledging it’s weakness.
Then it musically delivers what the whole album has been holding off on. The drums let loose frankly beautiful pattering patterns. No drummer has drummed like Reni. Mani’s bass pins the whole thing together. You feel the flow. It becomes the art the album cover has subtlety suggested. Squire lets fly ridiculously brilliant guitar breaks. The whole band jam, wig-out even. It sounds dumb to type – but you get lost in that glorious sound. As that sound encapsulates you – you just don’t want it to stop. It stops, you catch breath – then it comes back even harder. Washing guitar powerchords. You smile. It goes on. You smile more.
One of the best 20 albums i’ve ever heard. Timeless. If only they’d kept it up we’d have had our own Beatles. Ah well…