Ian Brown

Golden Greats

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Whatever its flaws, Ian Brown's debut album, Unfinished Monkey Business, suggested that he was the true visionary behind the Stone Roses, providing the wild mercurial ideas that were grounded by John Squire's classicist song structures. Its sequel, Golden Greats, confirms that notion. Less song-oriented than its predecessor and overflowing with neo-psychedelic sonic textures and dance beats, Golden Greats floats between dazzling peaks and unformed, unrealized ideas that are nonetheless quite intriguing. Some may miss the clear hooks that characterized the Stone Roses (and even parts of Unfinished Monkey Business), but Brown sounds revitalized here and the result is a fresh, frequently exciting record. True, it can get a little indulgent and it's not quite cutting edge (no matter how much he wishes it were), but that doesn't distract from its very real virtues. At its best, the album boasts wonderfully, subtly crafted productions brimming with neat textures (the organ riff, Mellotron, and sampled strings on "Set My Baby Free" are a perfect example) that are intriguing on first listen and grow richer with repeated listens. Like its predecessor, Golden Greats meanders a bit too much and it places a little too much emphasis on surface, but when the surface sparkles like this, it's hard to complain too loudly.

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