Ian Brown


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On his fourth solo album, Ian Brown marches on as confidently as ever, mixing mystical aural textures with massively addictive melodies. Album opener "Longsight M13" is as catchy as any song in Brown's back catalog and continues the spacy vibes of his previous full-length effort, Music of the Spheres. "Time Is My Everything" blends Stone Roses ephemera with dusty Spanish horns straight out of an Ennio Morricone spaghetti Western film score, while a goth guitar backdrop on "Destiny or Circumstance" warps the mind like nothing since the Sisters of Mercy. There is sometimes a sense, as on the title track, that Brown has gone a little too far into the stratosphere, if not wacky Kula Shaker territory, but the album's strident catchiness and Brown's wispy, wired voice are grounding forces strong enough to drown out any sense of tackiness. For every step into Middle Eastern exoticism, there's also a step to the dancefloor or a turn to early-'80s electro, such as "Kiss Ya Lips (No I.D.)" or the sprightly, wired background keyboards on "Longsight M13." Stone Roses fans who haven't tracked Brown's musical progress after that band's breakup will find much to love on Solarized, another mini-masterpiece that perfectly balances mood and melody.

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