Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Stone Roses

The Stone Roses, for all intents and purposes, were the most artistically accomplished and commercially renowned act to emerge from the chaotic Madchester scene of the early 1990s. Armed with a justifiably arrogant attitude, classicist pop-smart songwriting and an awe-inspiring arsenal of endlessly inventive and impossibly cool guitar riffs, the Manchester outfit rode high on the charts back then, winning the hearts and minds of fans and critics alike. The band's key sensibilities are perfectly encapsulated in their 1989 eponymous debut album, which has become something of a confirmed rock-music classic and a pop-culture phenomenon, winning numerous accolades and being hailed as one of the most consummate debut records in years.

For newbies still in the dark about the legendary and exceptional stature of 'The Stone Roses', this newly reissued edition should serve as an ideal introduction. Presented in an expectedly pristine remastered format, and value-added with a bonus disc of vintage outtakes and B-sides, this new edition of 'The Stone Roses' is a virtual boon for longtime aficionados seeking to replace their first-generation CD editions. So, diehards can once again thrill to the exhilarating likes of the luminous, sacrilegious 'I Am the Resurrection' (with John Squire's spangling guitar lines), the tremendously kinetic, funked-up 'She Bangs the Drums' (a good showcase for frontman Ian Brown's disdainful, nonchalant drawl), the blissful Technicolor portrait of paradise that is 'Waterfall', and the swaggering, self-assured 'This is the One'.

Elsewhere, Reni and Mani, the band's proficiently funky rhythm section, excel on the rampant, rampaging 'Elephant Stone', and 'Made of Stone' is a cavalierly restrained guitar-pop bauble that takes full flight in its choruses. The stratospheric 'Fool's Gold' is a druggy, acid-drenched, too-cool-for-words rocker that is one of Madchester's indisputable anthems. And finally, the echo-laden, confidently energetic 'I Wanna Be Adored' is as definitive a statement of intent there ever is, effortlessly taking listeners to a veritable musical dizzy height.

At the end of the day, no matter how hard any critic tries, the truth is no amount of words can describe the sheer pop-cultural weight of 'The Stone Roses': the only way to experience its greatness is to hear it for yourself. Still resonant and resplendent after all these years, this is one album that rightfully deserves the deluxe-reissue treatment, with all the bells and whistles that such a package entails. Nowhere else has an amalgamation of intricate yet appealing guitar hooks, neo-psychedelic values and dance-rock cadences been so perfectly woven together into a flawless tapestry, and nothing else comes close to it in terms of musical enlightenment. An absolutely stellar reissue of a confirmed rock-music classic, one that should belong on every serious collector's shelf.


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