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Black Sky Thinking

Tear Gas And Hip Hop: A Different View Of The Stone Roses' Debut
John Tatlock , August 25th, 2009 07:19

John Tatlock responds to Neil Kulkarni's review of The Stone Roses' debut album, and finds there's more to the band than often meets the eye

Reading fellow Quietus scribe Neil Kulkarni's harsh-but-fair-but-ultimately-wrong review of the re-released Roses' debut LP the other day was, for me, a complicated experience. For while I find myself agreeing with many of his points, I come to an entirely different conclusion.

This is an LP that drags such social contextual baggage along with it that it is indeed hard to separate it from, as Kulkarni eloquently puts it, the "sideyed-up desert-booted monkey-strutting wankers" for whom it is such a touchstone. However, he makes the same mistake as those very wankers* in seeing the album's release as the moment "when Year Zero for lad-rock got declared". There has always been, to me, a strange dissonance between what the Roses actually were and what they appeared to be, to both fans and detractors. Indeed, I've often felt that were the Roses less widely misunderstood, those two groups would more or less entirely switch sides.

One wonders what the lads who erroneously idolise Brown as the master blagger cheeky scally could possibly make of the Brown who (along with Squire) was an earnest member of the Socialist Workers Party, teetotaller, and attentive reader of Guy Debord. What can they make of the Mani who first met Squire and Brown via an ad hoc network of early 80s Manchester scooter gangs getting together to picket National Front demonstrations? What do Squire's action paintings, sculptures and collages mean to them? And what on earth do they even like about the blend of aching vulnerability and socialist revolutionary ire that is shot through everything the 'Roses did in their halcyon period from late 1987 to...

...The full version of this article is available in Point Close All Quotes: A Quietus Music Anthology. Buy it now in the Amazon Kindle store.

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