The Times

E for Edward

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Forget everything you know about the Times. There are no homages to the freakbeat era on this album, no loving pastiches of sunny Carnaby Street circa 1966 pop. It's instructive to note both the year this album came out, 1989, and the album title: "E" is not only for Edward (Ball, the sole performer on this album, save for two tracks of guitar by Paul Heeren), but for Ecstasy. The summer of 1989 was the summer of acid house in Great Britain, and plenty of folks who had previously been plying their trade in indie guitar bands suddenly hooked themselves up with some baggy clothes and a sampler. So in many ways, this is a shameless, pandering sellout. What saves the album is that it's fully aware that it's a shameless, pandering sellout, and it's ok with that. The deadpan objectification of the opening "Manchester" is so over the top in its praise that Ball is clearly taking the mickey. The rest of the album alternates between computerized acid house throb and solo acoustic miniatures like "No Love on Haight Street," which would not sound out of place on a late-era Felt album. The combination doesn't always work, and, frankly, ironic dance music can be just as dull as sincere dance music, but the album mostly gets by on its own bratty attitude. Newcomers to the Times shouldn't start here, but collectors of Madchester ephemera will have a chuckle.

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