The widely collected bootleg of early sessions is finally released officially. Apparently, the Stone Roses are appalled and didn't sanction this, which accounts for the lack of notes about these recordings. If various old sources are correct, the tracks are from demos they set down in 1985, probably with late producer/legend Martin Hannett, who produced their debut single. Thus, this is three or four years before they recut these looks at "I Wanna Be Adored" and "This Is the One" for their stunning debut LP. For these two tracks alone (and the three songs re-recorded for their first two singles), Garage Flower is history of the most illuminating kind! The songs are the same, but this would be around the time they changed their name from "English Rose" and gave up being a mod band. Thus, the playing (and recording) is harsh, primitive post-punk, closer to Killing Joke and their earliest days as the Clash-inspired "the Patrol" than anything else! The attitude and the songwriting are already well in place, and their louder attack has gallons of spunk. (Bassist Andy Couzens, co-writer of nine of these 14 songs, is also more punky than his replacement, Reni.) It's the eight unreleased songs that made so many fans clamor for the bootleg. Most are of the usual high caliber. "Heart on the Staves" is downright dynamite; John Squire points toward his later guitar genius with stabbing, ripped chords that slash the night, setting up one of Ian Brown's most acerbic vocal performances. "Getting Plenty" is almost as dramatic, "Trust a Fox" hammers toward the shouted, sneered "hello" chorus, and Reni goes wild on "Tradjic Roundabout." "All I Want," "Fall," "Just a Little Bit," and "Mission Impossible" also make this a "Savage Early Stone Roses LP."
AllMusic Review by Jack Rabid