The Happy Mondays were the answer to the British music scene around this time, much like Oasis were in 1994. The mainstream still consisted of wannabe hair metal bands and Grunge had not fully formed at this point. In come the Happy Mondays. Why the unusual name for the band though? It is named for the day the unemployment benefit was delivered in the UK, a hugely ironic name for the group during the popular Conservative administration of the time.
In any case, this album is a classic of its time and beyond. Let’s look into it.
We begin with Kinky Afro, a bass-heavy and catchy tune for those dying to hear something original and decent at the time. There are some catchy guitar parts and melodies here too. Shaun Ryder’s delivery is a highly original one, and this is much better than The Stone Roses first album. It sounds superb, a great start from the group. The chorus is brilliant. Get up and dance to this album from the word go.
Next is God’s Cop which has some psychedelic country riffs mixed up with DJ like beats. The music and lyrics fit each other perfectly. If this album was delivered in 1990, then it is built for the kids of the original hippies. A good song which is interesting colourful and sonically brilliant. The guitar solo and keyboard string section will melt your mind. The whole piece is great, and this album demands to be listened to. It goes into a bit of funky jam towards the end.
Donovan sounds well-structured and fresh musically, with a very subtle and psychedelic intro, reminiscent of Black Sabbath, minus the distorted guitars. It sounds a little like the music of the decade before but is so much better than the synth-pop that was mainstream in the 1980s. Welcome to the 1990s, ladies and gentlemen. The drums eventually kick in, changing it to a decent rock groove. Another good tune.
Grandbag’s Funeral starts off with an interesting guitar part with poetic lyricist Shaun Ryder coming over the top singing psychedelic jibberish. It’s good jibberish, of course, this album is a brilliant neo-psychedelic trip. These guys were pioneers of the crossover between the Indie scene and the Acid House scene. Good effort regardless.
The term and song Loose Fit informed the listener about the types of clothes the group and some of their followers wore. It sounds very psychedelic here and even slightly hypnotic in a listening sense. The poetry and trippy guitars match each other here, both the music and lyrics are informed by each other. Great stuff. Very catchy. The long fade-out is also very good.
Next is Dennis And Lois which is a bongo led catchy piece that is much better than your average rock band jam. It sounds very surreal, and the production on this is immaculate. Shaun Ryder chants “Ride on! Ride on!” which may refer to psychedelic drug use. A very good listen, like the rest of this album. By the way, one need not take drugs to enjoy this album, it is just as good as listening to it sober than otherwise.
Bob’s Yer Uncle starts with catchy acoustic guitar, a modified drum beat and giant bassline to boot. Shaun Ryder almost whispers over this catchy and colourful piece. Is this album a response to The Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band? Maybe. There are beautiful flute and subtle saxophone sections in the musical breaks between the lyrics, and some female vocals as well. The instrumentation here is epic. This piece demands multiple listens.
Step On begins with Acid House like piano, before going straight on to a great poppy riff-laden piece. This is really brilliant stuff to hear, psychedelic and consistent to hear. The riff is so catchy that this tune demands multiple listens. This album sounds better than anything that the Rap musicians serve up today, a brilliant and epic listen. A good mixture of pop/rock structure and neo-psychedelic themes. Dance all night long to this, if you can. The whistling towards the end is cool.
Next is Holiday. It begins with wind laden samples of rushing jet planes and goes into an almost disco-like piece. It fits well here, although it is not a major track on the album. Good stuff to hear on any sort of holiday break. All in all, it is a great effort, just like the rest of the album. Many drug references are here, which is the point here, mind you. But listening to this sober is just as good, too.
Segueing into Harmony, we have a totally chilled out and relaxing last track of the album. It has a good variety of psychedelic sounds and textures here. A good way to finish off a great album. The harmony in it is wonderful.
The Happy Mondays secured their place in musical history with this album. Everything from the album cover which is a carefully assorted bunch of candy wrappers, to the lyrics and the great psychedelic instrumentation here, make this a stone-cold classic of an album. 100% worth hearing.