Hot Chip, Circa Waves and More on the Stone Roses’ Impact
At its core, rock & roll is meant to make us dance. The Bee Gees, KISS and Blondie understood this, hotwiring the rhythms of disco into their sounds. Then, in 1983, the Stone Roses emerged out of Manchester, England, with a sound full of Merseybeat, old Adverts singles and the pulse of their city’s dance music scene.
Thirty years after the May release of their 1989 self-titled debut, their legacy is still going strong. Bands like Hot Chip, Circa Waves and Jagwar Ma have taken up the dance-rock mantle, bringing the Roses’ sound into the 21st century. TIDAL spoke with those bands and more to honor three decades of The Stone Roses.
Singer Ian Brown, guitarist John Squire, bassist Gary “Mani” Mounfield and drummer Alan “Reni” Wren took inspiration from the UK acid house movement when working on their debut album. In the late 1980s, 808 State and D-Mob were cooking up the dance floors at such UK hotspots as Shoom and the Hacienda; the period was nicknamed The Second Summer of Love.
“It’s strange how Manchester always had that dance music thing going on,” Mounfield wrote in the liner notes of the 2009 reissue of The Stone Roses. “We were always into getting on the dance floor up north. Drinking and dancing, these were the things you do when you were depressed and poor, and we are all really good at it!”
They also channeled the Byrds’ guitar jangle into the psychedelic swirl of club rhythms, funk riffs and rock hooks. To meld 1960s sounds with dance music, they tapped renowned producer John Leckie (XTC, the Fall) to help create a synergy between the two genres.
The results rocketed them to stardom in their native land: “She Bangs the Drums” became their first Top 40 hit in the UK, peaking at #34 in July of 1989. And although it never officially charted, “This is the One” remains the entrance theme for Manchester United. Fans even reconfigured another LP highlight, the jangly, dreamy “Waterfall,” into a chant celebrating the team’s new coach Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
The final 20 minutes of The Stone Roses truly brings the dance floor to the concert hall. “I Am The Resurrection” fades out into a 10-minute version of “Fool’s Gold.” Mani and Remi’s indelible groove transports the listener into the outer reaches of consciousness. It’s a one-two punch of an album closer that stands alongside the final moments of Sgt. Pepper.
Read on for a selection of artists’ takes on the seminal record. And, perhaps, revisit the album while you do.
Alexis Taylor of Hot Chip first heard the Stone Roses’ debut in the same way a lot of us discover music — through a sibling. When his brother, Will, brought the album home, Taylor was enraptured. “‘Fools Gold’ seemed amazing to me,” he tells TIDAL. “Its funkyness had an underwater quality. It was very much its own thing.”
Taylor marks the Stone Roses’ influence on Hot Chip tracks like 2006’s “Over and Over” — also citing the influence of Parliament-Funkadelic, who he says clearly paved the way for the Stone Roses. And for a guy who claims to not be as hot on the dance/rock hybrid as we might believe, Taylor comes out swinging with the first single off of the band’s forthcoming seventh album, A Bath Full of Ecstasy. A cursory listen to “Hungry Child” just goes to show that the rhythm is hardwired into their DNA; it’s simply too tough to shake.
Kieran Shudall of Circa Waves has put literal blood, sweat and tears into learning John Squire’s guitar lines. “They added an almost classical feel to the songs and gave me plenty of blisters trying to learn them,” he tells TIDAL.
Shudall, like most modern musicians, was too young to catch the Roses first time around, but he’s been playing catchup ever since he first dropped the needle on the self-titled debut. “The tough exterior of the band but the unbelievably beautiful melodies and danceability in their grooves was so interesting,” he says.
And Liverpool’s Circa Waves have done their part to keep that spirit alive. On their excellent third album What’s It Like Over There, they adopted a more danceable, pop-friendly direction by fully embracing their love for the Beatles and modern R&B — and, of course, the Stone Roses.
Jono Ma first heard about the Stone Roses while watching the long-running Australian music show Rage in his youth. Ian Brown was hosting the episode, hawking a video mix composed of Jimi Hendrix, James Brown and New Order. When Brown introduced the Roses’ own song, “I Wanna Be Adored,” Ma had an epiphany about music.
“It was the sound of a storm approaching, a cloud with lightning but no thunder, moving in timelapse rolling in off a dark grey coastline, guitars trickling to the ground cascading water,” Ma says. “I’d never heard anything like it. Later that week I tracked down the album in the local record store and revisited that opening. I was so cinematic and visual and atmospheric, to this day it must be one of the greatest album openings of all time.”
Tame Impala might get the most name-checks when it comes to Australian bands keeping the Stone Roses vibe alive, but Jagwar Ma have proven to be the real revival from Down Under.
Darren Coghill, drummer for Scotland’s Neon Waltz, discovered the Stone Roses via intense crate-digging. When he was 13, he delved deep into the bands that the “older, cooler” boys recommended. When he happened upon the Stone Roses, he knew he had found something special. “I loved it and then got disappointed that there wasn’t much more of the Stone Roses to discover and get obsessed with,” he recalls.
The vibrant brit-pop sound of Neon Waltz is undoubtedly more indebted to the guitar end of the Roses aesthetic, even though it wasn’t a conscious decision to emulate them. “I would say they maybe influence us on a subconscious level,” Coghill says. “We never set out to sound like anyone or fit into any kind of category, really. But the Stone Roses, I would say, are one of a few bands that live in our subconscious when we’re being creative.”
When the DJ blends “Fool’s Gold” into the mix, you can expect a big reaction at the club —especially when DOOMSQUAD is doing the blending. “It wasn’t until recently that the whole club/dancefloor influence of the Stone Roses really started to resonate with me,” recalls Trevor Blumas, who, along with sisters Jaclyn and Allie, continues to keep the feel of dance/rock alive and well on their new album Let Yourself Be Seen. “But mixing the groovy ‘turned on’ free love psychedelia of the ‘60s with the hi NRG acid house of the ‘90s just seemed like the most brilliant combination ever,” he says.
Blumas sees the trend of creating dance music within the structure of a live band making a strong return under the auspices of his generation. “I feel like I can hear a lot of the Stones Roses in bands like Parquet Courts, for example, or Tame Impala; it’s even scattered around the new Fucked Up album,” he observes. “Although we still often find ourselves as the odd band out in many occasions, I think influences like the Stone Roses or Happy Mondays and Primal Scream are certainly coming back into the creative unconscious.”
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