Monday, November 06, 2006

From the Vault - Pill 'n' Thrills and Bellyaches

Firstly, what a great thing that a record title clearly referring to the fun (and aftereffects) of dropping e can contain the most non-hardcore word in the English language, 'Bellyaches'.
From the opening, reggae-influenced, Lady Marmalade-pilfering (or rediscovering) 'Kinky Afro', the Happy Mondays created the seminal dance-rock album of the late 80s-early 90s (often overlooked for the more fashionable Stone Roses' debut), the movement typified by the Stone Roses and Primal Scream's 'Screamadelica'. Certainly, this record contains the biggest hit of the period, 'Step On'. Throughout, Shaun Ryder's (the guy from Gorillaz 'Dare') convoluted lyrics jump around, rarely making a great deal of sense. He was later known to say he wrote the words and sung because 'none of the others can be arsed'.
The epitome of the Madchester scene, Pills 'n' Thrills and Bellyaches set the standard for dance production of rock music (soon to be aped by Primal Scream), and introduced the cut-and-paste ethos of dance and hip-hop as a legitimate rock and roll muscial technique.
The fact of the matter is, almost every track on this record borders on the absolutely essential. The late 80s is often regarded as something of a black hole of musical rubbish, but in 1990, the Happy Mondays created a modern pop-rock-dance-fusion masterpiece that came swirling out of the mire and pushed rock into the 21st century.
10 years early.

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