What The World is Waiting For – The Next Stone Roses Album.

Following the Stone Roses triumphant Heaton Park gigs Ged Hawes ruminates on the Roses future & in particular that third album.

I’m still trying to figure out who was the more humiliated on Sunday evening ”“ the Italians or the Music Snobs of Mancunia (and further afield). In Kiev those boring Spaniards made the ageing Italy side look decidedly average, whilst in Heaton Park those ageing Stone Roses made everybody’s weekend. The fastest selling gigs in UK music history were lambasted from day one by many of the hipster aficionados. “They were shit first time round”, “it’ll only ruin it” and of course “I don’t need to go, I was at Spike Island”.

To put a measure on the gig they prefer to hold dear to their heart and not want ruined ”“ Spike Island was thrown together by the Used-Car-Salesman-esque then-manager Evans. The high tides that nearly washed away the crowds, only bettered by the winds that took the sound sideways from the stage tickling the ear drums of a lucky few in the crowd before disappearing away to some Mersey Paradise.

Now, no-one would want that memory tarnished.

“I have no desire whatsoever to desecrate the grave of seminal Manchester band the Stone Roses” John Squire said via a piece art in 2010. I think I said in 2010 I absolutely do not fancy Frankie from the Saturdays. Things change. Times change and people with them.

Ok. Now to the pressing matter. The Northern Quarter is seething with bitter, Red Stripe soaked rage. It was not meant to go so well. Some of the more wiser forty something kids out there made comments that carried a caveat that ”Ëœeven if they are any good, the third album won’t be.” And that is where we’re now at. P’raps this is the trickiest part of the comeback. The easiest way would be to have just played the gigs, took the money and run to those dew-fresh dappled glades of sunny South Manchester and Cheshire. But the Roses don’t really do easy. Never have.

What direction will this album take? Stick with what they know and give elongated intros and 10 minute wah-wahs with the dichotomy of flowery dreamy lyrics alongside drop dead emotionless end of love cut-offs? Or try to bridge the 20 year gap by changing and being more relevant? Be accused of lacking originality or be accused of leaving your roots? Or will it simply be an organic process that Brown referenced in the press conference to announce the reunion? That magical 5th member, the supernatural force that has never been present when they’re tried to make music alone or with others.

The travesty will of course be if they produce a third album that stands proudly alongside the previous two. The Second Coming has been given new life from a band playing the songs live with love instead of through gritted teeth as they seethe about contract constraints and bad blood. By the time their third offering is released the Heaton Park gigs will be history and those naysayers will be waiting with their crocheted “I told you so” memes that were sadly missing last weekend.

I for one applaud the audacity of trying to write another album. Music history is littered with the ”Ëœget-me-out-of-this-working-class-hell-hole-”Ëœ fuelled breakthrough debut albums. It also has it’s fair share of ”ËœI’m-a-fucking-someone-now-and-I-told-my-teachers-and-friends-I-would-be-and-heres-more-proof-of-it’ injected follow up albums. At this point we tend to get the ”ËœI-love-my-new-big-house-and-I’ve-seen-more-countries-than-vaginas-in-the-past-two-years-to-really-give-a-fuck-about-what-you-want-me-to-do-for-contractual-reasons’ tainted 3rd album. In short; given the chance, usually the arse falls out of it, the artists lose interest and we get let down. With a 20 year gap, private school kids and divorce all thrown in the mixer what reference will they draw on for new material. We have no body of work to bridge that gap and give us clues on direction. Brown’s solo work, Squire’s instrumental album and Seahorses stuff and Mani’s Primal Scream don’t really give us any insights. So I applaud them and am willing them to make the album that stands alongside if not above the previous two. And only then once they’ve toured that album should they call it a day for good. After all, come February Mr Brown will be a very respectable 50 not out.

All words by Ged Hawes. More Louder Than War pieces by Ged can be found here. Ged also writes for Busk & is on twitter as @MisterGed.

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  1. Fine words.
    Good luck to them, I say.

    For me it’s a question of need; do they need to make another record, is the need as strong as it once was – it doesn’t have to be the same need (because the desires of a young man are not those of late-middle age) but it does need to be.

  2. Nice piece. I think we’re all waiting with baited breath to see what they can come up with.

    I would disagree about the Second Coming comment though. I dunno how new life has been breathed into it when they seem to have chosen to virtually wipe it from our memories by a token outing of the two most successful singles from the album. It’s my only complaint about the gigs which were otherwise life-affirming.

    • Fair comment. I should have said I also saw them in Amsterdam where they played Tightrope too. Shame they didn’t include in the Heaton Park set (Friday) as Brown’s vocals and harmonies with Reni with spot on. Great gig though. Intrigued as to what follows and, indeed, when they tour the next album will we get more Second Coming which for me is a great album.

  3. I think the most important question is not If but when, they need to get it out within a year but will that mean the quality being low as its been rushed. I dont think spending 2 years searching for perfection and losing the momentum they have now. Rather than try to compete with the other albums they should just see what comes together in the next 6 months and then get it out.

  4. The only clue as to what direction they may go in was the fact that Squire’s amps were notched-up to 11 last weekend. They were some heavy takes on those classic jingle-jangle riffs at Heaton Park so maybe we’ll get a cross between the previous two albums. Squire’s Hendrix/Page riffs locked into some killer songs as opposed to jamtastic grooves.

  5. I love the Roses, seen them 8 times and Saturday at Heaton Park was 2nd only to Glasgow Green for me. They’re back, they’re hungry and they mean it. Their legacy was tarnished with the way it ended after the SC tour and for the most important band of the last 40 years that can’t be right. The new album will be awesome, whatever form/direction it takes. Maybe the reworked intro to Fools Gold points the way, at least in part? Bring it on!

  6. Love the Roses. The Heaton Park gigs were phenomenal and they have unfinished business regarding songs. As Ian Brown said the new songs are more important than the gigs. It would be great if they could release a few singles with quality b sides first but then that is not the modern way. The boys delivered on the stage and how exciting is it to wait for new songs!

  7. Well an interesting article but it seems to me that Ian Brown has been holding the Roses torch much more than the others, if not as successfully. Perhaps his solo recordings hold a better clue than may be thought (and certainly a better clue than the other post Roses efforts). I for one am not amazingly excited about live gigs (comparitively speaking) but I’m certainly intrigued about new material.

  8. More than anything, this reunion has exposed the witless bitching that now passes as culture. Every tit with a half baked opinion now has the ability to post their invective on countless social media and tube sites, as though they were journalists – and as though anyone cares about their tiny perspective (I do recognise the implicit irony in my post). A quarter of a million people voted with their feet at Heaton Park, and despite Browns wayward vocals, and the lack of new tunes, it was incredible. Seeing four genuine, humble and sincere men finally receive the love they are due was nothing short of beautiful. If there is a new album, and God I hope there will be, it will be superb, because these guys are artists and not celebrity jungle fodder. They are famous because they are great and not great because they are famous, the world could still learn a thing or two from these boys.

  9. Here Here.

    They’ve played a blinder so far, eh?????

    As regards the 3rd album. I think it’s crucial they have a strong “jumping off” point, if u get my meaning. A few quick wins to boost confidence and get on a roll.

    Anyone ever hear the Demo of “The Sun Still Shines”????. It didn’t make the debut album but it could easily hold it’s own on that album. Surprises me that it wasn’t even a B side. It’s got that classic harmonising that Reni provides, a very catchy melody and John Squire could weave some new magic with the right guitar lines. (note to John – thinking arpeggios from Bye Bye Badman).

    Didn’t John write a song intended for Ian a few years ago which Ian chose not to record (pre -patch up etc etc). Might be knocking around now. Ian liked the song but didn’t record it under the circumstances at the time.

    I’m only being light hearted with all this but a quality 3rd album would be fantastic.

  10. Nice piece, Ged.

    The Roses are my favourite group of all time, but I was one of those who didnt rush for Heaton Park tickets, for fear that my heart might be broken, like it was after Reading and the break-up. There’s egg all over my face now of course, but so what, I like eggs, and the fact they’re back so impressively means I’ll take another half-dozen at point blank range, gladly.

    With the live triumphs mounting up all over Europe, I’m confident they can produce a third album that will rate somewhere between ‘Good’ & ‘Fantastic’ by the fans and the critics. Firstly, they’re a working, touring band again, a self-contatined unit, like they were before they entered the studio for the classic debut, and NOT like they were when labouring through the Second Coming sessions, with all the legal and personal issues driving the members apart.

    We shouldnt forget that John Leckie lost patience with then during Second Coming, due to their inability to produce good working demos of new songs. Only Ten Storey and How Do You Sleep were completed with Leckie, with early demos of Love Spreads and Breaking Into Heaven needing extensive reworking by no less than 4 subsequent producers. They werent a ‘working’ band from 1991 onwards, which brought lack of practice, focus, creativity issues, arguments etc.

    It’s worth noting that the Roses record as a live band, wherever possible, with Ian adding guide vocals at first, with the ‘live’ performance then building up his final take later, with other members adding overdubs into the production. To record like that, the band HAS to be well-rehearsed and brimming with confidence to get the initial take right. Judging by the live shows. From what Ive watched on Youtube, they look ready to record right now!

    Also, they’ve signed two record contracts with major labels, for different territories. No one knows for sure if these contracts are for belated live releases, or advances on new material. I suspect the latter, as the contracts were signed long after the gigs were announced. If they are contracted to record new albums, the contracts would only have been offered after the majors heard the new songs, which bodes well for the album.

    Any debate here on who might produce the record?? Leckie is still in the game of course, as is Simon Dawson, who did such a stunning job on Love Spreads. Squire and Brown could self-produce, but I’d think that the Roses probably need a producer, as a mediator and ‘final word’. I wonder if Mark Ronson has thrown his hat in the ring?


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