Thursday, September 3, 2009

Stone Roses anniversary CD review

The Stone Roses
The Stone Roses: Special Edition
Grade: A

Earlier this year, Noel Gallagher of Oasis told a British music magazine, “When the Roses came along, everything went into color. The ‘80s were suddenly over. Suddenly, it was all peace and love, man.”

Indeed, the Stone Roses’ eponymous debut arrived in 1989 like a breath of fresh air. Hailing from musically fertile Manchester, England, the Roses and producer John Leckie crafted an enthralling album that combined subtle dance rhythms, layered sounds and backward loops with Ian Brown’s understated vocals and John Squire’s shimmering, neo-psychedelic guitar work.

The quartet spearheaded the burgeoning rave/baggy scene, became a major influence for countless BritPop acts that would follow it in the mid-1990s and saw the release continually land near the top of critics’ all-time best lists.

To mark the 20th anniversary, Stone Roses is now available in various configurations. Special Edition includes the remastered U.K. version (added clarity is really noticeable on a vibrant “She Bangs the Drums” and “This is the One”) and full-length “Fools Gold.”

Longtime fans will want to fork over the extra dough for Legacy Edition, which adds The Lost Demos CD (early recordings, plus the previously unreleased “Pearl Bastard”; a stripped down “Bye Bye Badman” is great) and 90-minute DVD featuring a satisfactory 1989 gig filmed at Blackpool Empress Ballroom (Brown is typically aloof; the band barely discernable in the shadows) and six music video clips.

Three vinyl LPs, a book, Squire's art prints, a Leckie documentary, ringtones and more are added to the Collectors Edition, while the Gatefold Vinyl Edition has a white label 7” of “Bastard.” Still a classic.

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