By Noah Lopez
Arizona Daily Wildcat
It's been a long time since the Stone Roses released their critically acclaimed multi-platinum debut album. In the six years that have followed, a myriad of talentless Brit-rockers have surfaced, ensuring that the sweet morsels the Roses left us with would slowly melt away, leaving a decidedly sour taste to take their place.
As time went by, the bands tapped to take the Stone Roses's place as the "Next Big Thing" in England would get progressively worse. From Suede to Oasis, each new incarnation would make the Rose's absence even more painful.
Unfortunately, the long awaited follow-up is not the expected antidote. Instead, it may be one of the most disappointing records ever released. The initial appeal of the Stone Roses lay in their cleverly crafted pop melodies. Blending together a wide variety of '60s influences, ranging from the Byrds to the Stones, they created immediately hummable tunes and catchy phrases that rendered every song memorable. Apparently, they have lost that ability.
As the opening strains of the first track, "Breaking Into Heaven," develop, it harks back to the gradual introduction to "I Want to be Adored," the first track of the first album.
Sadly, similarities end there. As the song develops, it becomes a tiresome eight minute exercise in monotony, a theme that will surface again and again throughout the album.
And while the earlier Stone Roses quoted heavily from their influences, they managed to transcend them and create a sound that was uniquely their own. Not only do the new songs not rise above their influences, their influences seem to have gone downhill. The second track, "Driving South" unabashedly uses a very Joe Perry/Aerosmith-like wailing guitar line that permeates and sinks the track.
Not that there aren't some shining facets to give the album a dull shine. "Ten Storey Love Song," the third and best song on the album, is an exquisite sample of the magic that Ian Brown and John
Squire can make happen. But as that track slowly fades away, another 25 minutes or so of dull, tiring, uneventful songs follow. While "Begging You" and "Good Times" would have been nothing more than outtakes from the last album, they offer hope here that the Stone Roses haven't lost their touch. Again, these hopes are tarnished by the other songs on the album Ä they happen to sandwich the album's worst song, "Tightrope," a pale copy of the Rolling Stone's "Sympathy for the Devil."
The album nearly ends on a high note with the hard pop of "Love Spreads," the first single. But as the song ends the listener quickly realizes that the album is not yet over. Included is the '90s version of the '70s drum solo . an extra track. No extra track is really a treasure to find, but the blandness found here offers a sad reaffirmation of how disappointing this album really was.
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