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Unfinished Monkey Business

Ian Brown

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Album Review

Several years on, and still everyone is playing that first Stone Roses LP, one of the great achievements in British rock and pop. But the magnificence of that well-loved album has also been the problem since. The Roses spent the early '90s suing the label that released it, then signed a new, bigger deal, released a total dud of a turd of a turkey of a second LP, lost its members one by one, then mercifully quit with a whimper. Fantastic guitarist John Squire ruined Second Coming with his sudden obsession with Jimmy Page-style w**k-soloing, and his subsequent LP with the Seahorses is an equally miserable piece of bad bombast for the same reason. So now it's singer Ian Brown's turn, his first post-Roses try at convincing the world that The Stone Roses was not a momentary fluke, an accidental, monumental treasure. But he, too, falls a little short. Without Squire (at least the 1989 version!), Brown is lacking in guitar talent. The work here, though competent, is pedestrian. The bass and drums are also well below the level of Mani and Reni. And also, without Squire's help, Brown's songwriting is vaguely hooky but average. Perhaps Unfinished Monkey Business is too well titled. But unlike Second Coming and the Seahorses, at least this feels good to listen to, as compelling background sound. What Brown lacks in backing and material, he does his best to make up for with singing attitude, groove, and, most of all, production vibe and atmosphere. Several nice songs, such as "Can't See Me," shake with quiet cool, approaching the Roses' singles "One Love" and "Fools Gold," and a few more-pop tracks, such as "Nah Nah" and the U.K. hit "My Star," are genuine pleasures that bring back the hints of magic for a while. Rarely has such a poorly constructed LP felt so soothing and cool, if vaguely unsatisfying.

Customer Reviews

King monkey for a reason

Mr Brown is music listen to this album which he practically wrote and played himself. Ian has gone on to release four great solo albums since this debut album. However all as good as they are do not get near this opening with under the paving stones the beat lets ya know once you have ian brown you will always have the beat. Then the classic my star which he went on to actually improve with my star 2002 somthing he is not bothered about doing as he has proved with where angels play and forever and a day all to be found on the correctly named greatest album by ian brown in 2005. Cant see me clearly levelled at his estranged song writeing partner john squirs is great pop. Ice cold cube again a song directed at john but an amazing piece of music. The following two tracks sunshine and lions led to the album being called ropey and lo fi. However i think there really strong and unique though they do need a couple of listens like all the best tracks do. They produce as well two of the best ian brown lyrics in the" world the size of a sweet sweet pea" in sunshine and " there are no lions in england" in lions. Then there is corpses with a great beat and once more a dig at johns coke habbit in corpses in her mouth. Great track followed by what happened to ya pt 1 and 2 with two being my prefernace and again a go at john. Then two me the albums encore and high piont in "nah nah" the superb "deep pile dreams" and the music only unfinished monkey business. This album is undoubtebly unfinished business with john squire and no doubt it has been done on a budget. It represented though a remarkable recovery from ian from the flooring he took when the roses disbanded. Yet he manages to let the music do the talking on what truly was the second coming of ian brown.

The purest, unpolished raw piece of work Brown will ever release

I grew up listening to the Stone Roses and was devastated when they split. After listening to his solo work starting with this album I can't help feel John Squire was holding him back. My Star is the pop song, Corpses and Nah Nah are the start of the new brilliant Brown. Deep Pile Dreams and Unfinished Monkey Business is one man, his bedroom and synthesizer tittle-tattle tinkering. When Picasso painted abstract portraits he was called genius, with these songs Brown places himself as the modern day musical surrealist.

Learning the ropes

Unwilling to scrub the album up he stuck to his guns to be published and damned. Its a public display of relearning his trade. Bare, basic and unprotected. Albums title is spot on. My Star (3stars)


Born: 20 February 1963 in Ancoats, Gt. Manchester, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

The frontman for one of the most revered British bands of the 1980s and '90s, Ian Brown symbolized the arrogant cocksureness of his mouthpiece, the Stone Roses. Although the group released one of the three or four most influential records of the decade in 1989 (their debut, at that), they slowly imploded during the early '90s and released only one more album before splitting up. Guitarist/songwriter John Squire formed a new band, Seahorses, while bassist Mani (Gary Mounfield) joined Primal Scream....
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Unfinished Monkey Business, Ian Brown
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