Inspiral Carpets

Peel Sessions

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Other bands are more fondly remembered; others garnered more respect and kudos at the time. But in many ways, the Inspiral Carpets remain the archetypal Madchester band, not on the strength of their live show or records (that honor goes to the Happy Mondays, of course), but for a few minutes at the end of this disc, and a version of the Rolling Stones' "Gimme Shelter" that encapsulates everything that drove Manchester to madness. The Carpets' second John Peel session was recorded on March 26, 1989, for broadcast on April 5, and captures them plowing through four numbers -- "Out of Time" and "Keep the Circle Around" are punchy and powerful, and "Directing Traffic" is already an anthem, swirling psychedelia that haunts long after it's drifted from earshot. But it's still "Gimme Shelter" that overwhelms, the manic menace of the original shot through with a new electricity, and the knowledge that everything the Stones said was "just a step away" is even closer today. It's a chilling performance, but an invigorating one, and proof that the Carpets were always infinitely greater than history now allows.

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