On Thursday, speaking to NME, Ian Brown, frontman of The Stone Roses, confirmed a much talked-about rumour – The Stone Roses are recording new music. The band have been not-so-secretly based in Church Studios, Paul Epworth’s North London facility. Epworth has stellar credentials, having previously worked with Adele, Bloc Party and Florence, to name a few; it seems the band is pulling out all the stops.
The news comes after months of speculation since the band announced four huge homecoming shows at Manchester's Etihad stadium. Having only ever released two studio albums, the expectation was that new music was inevitable if the band were to keep touring.
First forming back in 1983, Brown, along with John Squire, Mani and Reni, were some of the founding fathers of the Madchester scene which was prevalent in the late 80s and early 90s. Their swirling melodies, laced with shoegazey undertones, carved them out as a pioneering group of that era. Their self-titled debut album was released in 1989 to critical acclaim and is to this day, still cited as one of the greatest British albums of all time.
The success of this LP led the band to sign with a major label, but their label at the time, Silvertone, would not release them from their contract. This led to a lengthy court case and the four-piece did not actually sign to Geffen Records until 1991. It was at this point, the band distanced themselves from the Manchester scene, touring Europe and working on their second record. This seemed to be an odd decision.
The Second Coming was released in 1994 and, although not a terrible album, compared to The Stone Roses it was garbage. The reviews reflected this and by 1995 the band had split. Despite this setback, Ian Brown went on to have a successful solo career, and was awarded NME’s Godlike Genius Award in 2007. Meanwhile, Mani joined Primal Scream on bass and John Squires released solo material as well as forming a band, Seahorse.
Then, in October 2011, the band announced an extensive reunion tour. Since then, they’ve been touring the world, playing to sold-out stadiums and headlining festivals.
Life has been good to them, but there is always a feeling that when bands tour on nostalgia, that they only have a certain amount of time before they have either stop or record new music. People just get bored and sceptical if things do not change.
Despite Ian brown describing the new material as “glorious”, I don’t have high hopes for the new Stone Roses music. The Second Coming was the definition of a flop, and they’ve been raking in the money on the nostalgia trail for too long now – can there really be any of the old magic left? And even if they are back on the same wavelength, can it ever be as good as The Stone Roses? Few albums in history have been that good, so having that record hanging over you is an exceptional amount of pressure.
Having said that, I was also very sceptical when I heard The Libertines were recording a third album. Being one of my favourite bands of all time, The Libs are one of the bands that founded my love affair with music. Like any fan, I was over the moon to see them get back together to play live at Reading & Leeds in 2010. Even their second reunion in 2014 filled me with joy, with the prospect of seeing Pete and Carl’s bromance on stage once again. However, with their much publicised issues, I couldn't help but be worried when they announced they were recording new music together again. They could be about to stain their legacy with a poor album. This feeling wasn’t helped by Doherty openly admitting he was in it for the money.
Despite all this, 2015’s Anthems For A Doomed Youth was excellent. It wasn’t quite as exceptional as their first two albums, but it was still a great record. I should never have doubted their credentials.
Is this a lesson for me when it comes to The Stone Roses? Only time will tell, but I still find it hard to think they can create anything that will not be thrown in the bargain bin with Guns N Roses’ 2008 comeback Chinese Democracy.
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