Article by Matthew McKinlay
Known for the iconic lemon associated with this four-piece band from Manchester, the Stone Roses have indented their music into British musical history as they mark the beginning of the musical wave of Britpop music. This flourishing wave inspired bands such as Oasis and Blur, who were coming into the lime light in the early 1990’s. The four-piece consisting of Frontman Ian Brown, Guitarist John Squire, Bassist Gary ‘Mani’ Mounfield and Drummer Alan ‘Reni’ Wren were also one of the pioneering groups of the ‘Madchester’ movement which included bands like The Smiths and Happy Mondays. The band were formed in 1983 and eventually signed with record label known as Silvertone, where in the summer of 1988 they began recording for their upcoming debut album, ‘The Stone Roses’.
This self-titled album from the Manchester band was ultimately their penultimate album in the end however, it doesn’t take away from the fact that this particular album has ranked number 11 on Colin Larkin’s All Time Top 1000 Albums. This album has also embedded itself in British culture as it is still being widely recognised for its jangly guitar parts, thumping basslines and groovy drums 30 years down the line. Their initial releases of ‘Elephant Stone’ and ‘Made of Stone’ had begun to turn heads, inevitably attracting larger audiences for the eventual release of their first studio album.
The album begins with the bands essential statement song of ‘I Wanna Be Adored’ in which the song begins with the iconic thumping bassline from ‘Mani’, which leads into the intricate pentatonic rundown solo from John Squire as the song progressively builds into the first verse where the song is then taken forward by the unique whisper-like vocals that give the song a form of tension and build up for the outro of this iconic track.
The album then progresses into another one of the bands classic songs titled: ‘She Bangs the Drums’, which opens with the fast paced hi-hats, which also leads into another thumping bassline from ‘Mani’, with the song then developing to Squire’s jangly chord progression helping to lead the track onto being a classic record.
Another song worth mentioning from the album is arguably the most underrated track from the entire back catalog of The Stone Roses, never mind the first album. The track ‘Shoot You Down’ is the 9th track on the album and has a nice mellow vibe brought by the slow little guitar licks brought by John Squire and relaxed vocals provided by Ian Brown this brings the pace of the album down with this track to build up for a climactic end.
The Penultimate song on this great album is ‘I Am the Resurrection’, which in my humble opinion, is an absolute masterpiece! It begins with a groovy drum beat, which makes you want to play the air drums. It then moves on to the thumping bassline from ‘Mani’ then developing into a huge set of 3 verses and 2 pre-choruses which leads into the big chorus towards the end of the first initial part of the song. The second part to this song is solely an instrumental which shows the diversity and sheer musicianship of the band as it begins with another groovy bassline and funk oriented guitar parts from John Squire as he is really allowed to show how talented he is and really captures the overall sound of the band, showcasing how much they suit one another.
The album concludes with its 12th track ‘Fool’s Gold’, which is also another classic from the band. The near 10-minute track includes a soft basic drum beat compared to their other tracks and the song is also orientated around the bassline which gives creative freedom to John Squire for his intricate licks. His heavy use of the ‘wah’ pedal also gives the song a new dimension and gives the tune a real groove and funk about it.
In conclusion the album is an overall incredible display of the band’s musical capabilities and the brilliance of the musicianship between all 4 of the members is astonishing and the overall album in my humble opinion is a masterpiece as the band have established their own unique sound that makes them easily recognisable above everyone else as following this album they have created their own cult following and live strongly in the music industry 30 years after the release of this album, it is just an overall shame the bands future came to the abrupt end after their second album, ‘The Second Coming’.
My Overall Rating for this album: 9/10
Underrated Track of the Album: ‘Shoot You Down’
Track of the Album: ‘I Am the Resurrection’