Returning with his first album in a decade, Ian Brown seems to play it safe with ‘Ripples’, a jumbled array of tracks that tease political narrative and bold life-affirmation.
As the dust settles and we finally…yes, finally come to terms with the fact the Stone Roses perhaps did only record two more tracks, and we’re not getting a third album, the focus turns back to King Monkey.
It seems a shame then, what should be a euphoric solo come-back is proving to be a somewhat lacklustre effort at a left-field, social commentary album.
There doesn’t seem to be a huge amount of depth to Brown’s seventh output, with many tracks feeling empty, light on instrumentation and lacking in direction, ‘Breathe and Breathe Easy’ being a prime example and potentially the most repetitive and drawn out track on the entire release.
There are however exceptions to this, moments of hope come with ‘The Dream and The Dreamer’, a track so easy to get lost in and even easier to put on repeat. Imagine Santana like flow, adorned with Brown’s vocals, complimenting each other beautifully with political undertones and thought provoking analogies. Definitely the gem amongst the rubble.
‘It’s Raining Diamonds’ is an easy-going feel-good addition, but again, the underlying theme to this track resonates throughout the album; a lack of exploration within each track itself. A shame as most of this album has potential for development.
It’s also worth mentioning that two of the ten songs on this album are covers, one being a great rendition of Mikey Dread’s ‘Break Down the Walls’. However it feels completely lost and almost wasted after being seemingly wedged on the foot of the release at the last minute.
This also means that we’ve waited ten years for eight original tracks.
A slight disappointment it must be said, and perhaps this album only serves as a way for Ian Brown to remain current and unforgotten in an ever changing world.
This record has potential, but with a lack in clear direction and dare I say a lack of experimentation, we’re left feeling somewhat underwhelmed as we know Brown is capable of much more
Perhaps there’s time to consider recording that third Stone Roses album yet.