tue 23/04/2019

CD: Ian Brown - Ripples | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Ian Brown - Ripples

CD: Ian Brown - Ripples

King Monkey makes a fine return to the fray

Ripples: a return to form

Ripples may be Ian Brown’s first album in nine years but it gives absolutely no impression of a man grasping at straws to resurrect his career after the non-event that was the Stone Roses’ 2011 reunion. Baggy grooves, dancehall reggae vibes and socially conscious lyrics mark King Monkey’s latest solo set, all delivered with characteristic swagger. In fact, such is Brown’s confidence that he hasn’t just sung on Ripples but produced, created the artwork, played guitar, drums and various other instruments, and pulled in his sons to contribute both their musical and song-writing talents.

Lead single “First World Problems” has already received plenty of radio play and delivers a dancefloor-friendly stomper, while Brown takes on Westerners with comfortable lives who spend all their time moaning about their lot. In fact, righteous and radical calls for global peace, love and unity take centre stage throughout, with Brown making it clear exactly where he stands, variously proclaiming that “Some don’t realise the rich man’s trickery” and “Government is not your friend.”

As well as laying down his own tunes, Brown also takes a stab at a couple of reggae landmarks. Barrington Levy’s dancehall classic “Black Roses” is transformed into a cracking up-beat groove, that will have plenty of hips shacking, while a more faithful cover of the Clash’s mate, Mikey Dread’s dubby call to stand up and unite against Babylon, “Break Down the Walls”, is delivered with a Manchester-via-Kingston accent that doesn’t jar in the way that that may suggest.

Ripples isn’t without a bit of filler and “Breathe and Breathe Easy” is a clunker with novice guitar and heavy-handed hippy mysticism, while “From Chaos to Harmony” and “It’s Raining Diamonds” are sub-Oasis plodders. Given the unexpected quality on show elsewhere though, it’s not a great price to pay for the return of one of Madchester’s undeniable musical giants.

Baggy grooves, dancehall reggae vibes and socially conscious lyrics mark King Monkey’s latest solo set

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

Explore topics

Share this article

Add comment

Subscribe to theartsdesk.com

Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £3.95 per month or £30 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters