Melody Maker: The Stone Roses at International Manchester

Melody Maker

Stone Roses: International Manchester
Written By Billy Smith, On Feb 28, 1987

THINGS are a bit strange in Manchester at the moment. Strange days when more than 700 people turn up for a band without a deal, and strange time when the band in question ignore such injustices and just get on with the job. Roll over New Order, and tell Mark E. Smith the news.

The Stone Roses remind me of The Monkees on speed, sweetness burning in file. Dressed in the sharpest togs and the closest hair crop, vocalist Ian looks like he commutes between the record ship and the Stretford End every Saturday, a variation on rhythm and boot. Here is a potential star on the boil, a rat-faced punk, delivering songs of simplistic beauty, and the irony of this imbalance is not lost on his adoring mob.

“Sally Cinnamon” is a case in point, a classic song and a hit record, but Ian takes no chances, sinking the subtle hooks deep, deep in your brain with a madman attack on the words and a performance of extreme dementia. A painful process perhaps, but it work. I found myself humming the damn tune all the way home while recalling the sight of Ian seemingly struggling inside a strait jacket on stage.

But it’s not all psychomania, and these boys do have taste. “Hardest Thing In The World” and “Mersey Paradise” prove that the Roses can write songs for the people, rather than for the market.