Nobody mixed and matched house-music beats and psychedelic jangle with as much ingenuity as the Stone Roses. The Manchester, England, outfit’s 1989 self-titled debut is still dreamy, driving, and playful.
Maybe it’s because they knew they’d never reach these heights again, but the band members gave that album everything they had, from Beatlesque harmonies and ringing guitars to a hypnotic pulse and backwards tape weirdness.
Like all the best pop music, “The Stone Roses” sounds familiar on first hearing and fresh after 1,000 plays. The songs by singer Ian Brown and guitarist John Squire flow together beautifully, with the shimmering “Waterfall” and the groovetastic “She Bangs the Drums” working the most magic. The CD finishes on a high note with the insinuating “I Am the Resurrection,” a churning number that spotlights the band’s jaw-dropping rhythm section as well as the best instrumental outro this side of “Layla.”
The bonus track “Fool’s Gold,” which is awash in wah-wah wonderfulness, is something of a dance-music classic. The song throbs and flows for nearly ten minutes without ever growing boring or repetitive.
The brilliantly packaged “Legacy Edition” set features a disc of “lost” demos which lay bare Brown’s wispy vocals and lyrical inventiveness. The third disc is a DVD that boasts the band’s Empress Ballroom show from 1989 and six bonus videos, including the hallucinatory rave-up “One Love” and the mighty mind-trip “I Want to Be Adored.”
Recently, the British magazine “New Musical Express” declared the Roses’ debut “the greatest album of all time.” That’s an exaggeration. But not by much.
Release date: 9/8/09
Website : www.legacyrecordings.com
[Amy Longsdorf’s entertainment coverage has appeared in “Blender,” “People,” the “Chicago Tribune,” the “Toronto Star,” and “Newsday.” She doesn’t want to imagine a world without Preston Sturges movies, Stax singles, and the music of Bob Marley.]