Tag Archives: 1990s

The Stone Roses resurrection

Earlier this afternoon, The Stone Roses confirmed that they’re reforming. The fact that they were having a press conference in the first place indicated it was going that way, given that they haven’t had anything to do with each other publicly since the 90s. (If memory serves, Remi played on Ian Brown’s first solo album, but that’s been about it.) And of course, the world is on the verge of wetting its collective pants with excitement. 

There are several things wrong with this. The Stone Roses split was so very acrimonious, their disbanding statement saying that it was a pleasure to announce the band’s demise. Squire hated Brown, Brown hated Squire, The Second Coming was, for the most part, an absolute mess: it was a moment of kindness, really, of putting the band out of its misery, to sleep forever as a band that got it very right once. The band’s getting back together doesn’t seem like a renewed friendship or a genuine desire to do it again: it’s about money, pure and simple. The Fool’s Gold royalties evidently aren’t cutting it any more.

Do we want to see them play live together again? Having had the misfortune to see an Ian Brown solo set, I wouldn’t recommend it. Angelic on record, moose-like in the flesh: his voice simply can’t do it. And Squire is an amazing guitarist, but we’ve all heard guitar solos before, and no doubt the crowd will be singing most of the riffs Chelsea Dagger-style anyway. And Mani will be doing exactly what he does in Primal Scream. Even in their hey day, they weren’t great live; not one person seems to have a good word to say about Spike Island. And what would they be playing? Songs that, mostly, haven’t had the chance to dip out of the public consciousness. There will be no surprises, unless they dust off Tightrope, which seems an unlikely and unpopular choice. And, Jesus, there’s actually going to be new material. Can you imagine what fresh hell this is going to be? Brown peaked with F.E.A.R., Squire floundered with The Seahorses (the lovely Blinded By The Sun aside, which is one that he didn’t write) and embarrassed himself with his solo album.

This is not to say The Stone Roses were rubbish. Of course they weren’t. Their debut album remains near-perfect, and its significance is frequently and deservedly recognised, but why oh why are they deciding to piss on their own legend now? Because they were legends. They practically invented indie, then combusted, and maintained a dignified silence when it came to talking about the past. Coming back will, most likely, serve only to ruin this, and we’ll get an album about as good as Oasis’ Don’t Believe the Truth or The Verve’s Fourth just to stick the boot in before they inevitably crumble again. It’s a colossal mistake, and a heartbreaking waste.

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Tied to the 90s

Yuck

Yuck

A worrying thing has happened. Children of the 90s are officially allowed to feel old now, and it stems from the release of the self-titled debut album from Yuck.

Recent years have seen the charts choked with bands who saw that Oasis only needed four chords and ceased to learn any more themselves (hello, Pigeon Detectives), but that in itself harked back decades. No, Yuck’s feat is something else, tapping into some otherness which manages to capture 1996’s shoegazey fuzz and air of desperation to escape, um, anything. Lead single Get Away, equal parts Teenage Fanclub’s The Concept and The Cribs’ Another Number (video here is a fan video because the live versions thrown up by You Tube were mostly unbearable), wouldn’t have sounded out of place between Ironic and 74-75 on LW Atlantic 252. But, perhaps more worryingly, it’s quite good, and brings with it an irresistible sense of comfort. Yep, we’re there: the 1990s are now officially ripe for nostalgia.

Cast

Cast

This year’s Edge Festival (the music off-shoot of the Fringe, formerly T on the Fringe) features gigs from Gomez and Cast, while Ocean Colour Scene, Pulp, Primal Scream playing Screamedelica and House of Pain are all present and correct at T in the Park. (As are Cast, who are also playing King Tut’s in July. 2011’s desire to hear Finetime, Free Me and Beat Mama cannot be sated with just one performance, it would seem.) Cries of “What year is this?” sound in muso’s living rooms, editorial offices and Twitter accounts across the land, and with just cause.  At least Gomez were good: the fact that Shed Seven still, bafflingly, manage to pack venues on a vaguely regular basis is unsettling indeed. The Bluetones packed it in last year, but give it five minutes and they may well be back. Leave it long enough and we may see Gene, Olive and Northern Uproar (1996’s Little Man Tate clad entirely in the Gallaghers’ Knebworth anoraks if your memory fails you) back on the road.

This rash of nostalgia has been blamed mostly on the recession, of seeking comfort in memories of a better time, but that’s perhaps reading too much into it. Isn’t it just long enough ago now? The 80s were seen as retro kitsch from the mid-90s on (brilliantly so in Adam Sandler’s only decent film, 1997’s The Wedding Singer), so we’ve got away with it for far longer than we should have. The problem really is that it’s entirely too easy to fall into the nostalgia trap. Yuck’s Get Away captures that odd mid-90s wistfulness, would be best listened to staring forlornly out of your bedroom window and decorating school books with meaningful lyrics, and it’s tempting to go back and hide inside that feeling, even if just for a few minutes. If it’s any consolation, though, the rest of the album is awful.

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