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Bands You Should Know: The Stone Roses by

One deep winter night in 2003, cold and stoned, everyone had returned home for the holidays, and my life was empty and sad. So I went to the only place I knew that could bring joy: KWUR 90.3 FM. Back then, KWUR didn’t look as it does now: particle-board CD stacks were rotting in what is now the lounge, but that didn’t really matter, it was time for random pulls. That night, I found The Stone Roses. And I’ve never lost them.

While we didn’t have the 1989 self-titled release, we had the Second Coming. The cover of this one is soaked in scathing review: the album apparently failed to live up to their first release, too much guitar wanking, etc. But whoa. The guitar work blew me away. Yes it was wanking, yes you could hear the cocaine, but wow this guy was fucking great. Though demeaningly branded “the John Squire blues explosion” whatever. John Squire was on point.

I immediately went home that night and acquired though the Gaian brain their first album. Allmusic will tell you 5 stars, but you must listen for yourself. I’m not the biggest fan of Ian Brown’s vocals, but they are by no means offputting. What the Stone Roses are marked for is a fusion of dance beat with guitar (I don’t want to call it pop because that word has been bastardized by, well, you know the yuck elsewhere). And it’s there, you can catch it, a very simple driving drum beat, a live drum machine. But its not overwhelming, it lets the groove coast through the entire album, take the ride.

Minus the only caveat (track 1, I dislike it), almost every track on this album radiates with an unbounded optimism. Everything will work out just fine, trust the Stone Roses. From the last 20 seconds of track two where you get to hear Squire’s guitar ring clear, to the little shimmy in the middle of track 3, to track 4 which sounds fascinatingly like track 3 in reverse, to the unexpected full out jam 1/3 through track 11, this album will set you right as rain.

The Stone Roses 😀

(From inside KWUR: this album can be found (and played on the air!) in MP3 form in the Unsorted folder of the KWUR quasi stax: not the formal FLAC lossless archive, but the collection of digial music. Ask your friendly tech if you don’t know where to find it on the computers.)

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