The Stone Roses - The Very Best of

2007-01-25 15:11
If you stick this on at your next social, you’ll immediately spot those that were around for the first coming of the Stone Roses (The Stone Roses, 1989) by the nostalgic grin etched on their crackly faces.

At least this time, that nostalgia would be justified by pretty much the entirety of rock’s musical snoberati. As respected as the likes of Blur, Pulp, or Oasis might have been, (read the review of Oasis’ retrospective Stop The Clocks here) the fact is that the Roses were among the real forerunners of the Britpop scene - and they are probably the most critically acclaimed of the lot.

Along with The Charlatans, The Happy Mondays and a small clutch of others, The Roses defined the new wave sound of UK pop long before the majors dared touch it. While pop radio was wallowing in the sugary kitsch of pre-sex Kylie and other bombastic Stock Aiken Waterman acts of terror (Tiffany, anyone?), the indie scene had moved on from The Smiths… into … funky, soul-tinged, psychadelic-flavoured groove-rock.

The true indie pop movement of the late eighties reached its zenith with The Stone Roses, which is still generally regarded as one of the greatest pop/rock albums of all time – and certainly one of the finest debuts of all time.

Not surprisingly, The Very Best of retains the bookends of that album in their honoured positions – “I Wanna Be Adored” kicks it all off, and “I Am The Resurrection” brings it all to a close.

In between all that, a fistful of tracks from the two albums (yes, they only ever released two full albums) includes the near ten-minute “Fool’s Gold”, the long-hair shaking “She Bangs The Drums”, and the bluesy “Love Spreads”. No wry “Elizabeth, My Dear” though. Everything else is as good at least, though the compilation makes evident the differences between the studio albums.

The Stone Roses tracks reveal the self-confidence of an energetic, effervescent band absolutely convinced of its own importance (in a good way, mind); while the Second Coming (1994) tracks offer a denser, more bluesy, almost more considered psychadelic wall of guitar sound.

As a casual listener, the compilation will serve you well. Nostalgic aficionados, however, will want to opt for the original album, along with The Charlatans’ Some Friendly (1990 – both on import vinyl, please).

- Anton Marshall

It’s definitely a nostalgic cash-in, but it’s timely and it’s as good as it’s going to get for fans of The Greatest UK Indie Band Evarrrr! Well, they are the greatest. Almost…

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