martedì 4 agosto 2009

Black Grape "Stupid,Stupid,Stupid"

Secondo disco per i Black Grape e coordinate musicali che non si spostano dal divertimento assicurato dell'esordio. Shaun era tornato. Ma per poco. (1997 MCA)

That Shaun Ryder is even alive, let alone making music, belies his reputation. As the leader of the Happy Mondays, he was the poster boy for pharmaceutical indulgence during the height of England's late-eighties Madchester scene. Ryder not only survived his fifteen minutes of fame, he also made an improbable comeback in 1995 with a new group, the electrorabble-rousers Black Grape.
Black Grape's debut, It's Great When You're Straight ... Yeah, was a kaleidoscope of dope beats courtesy of producer Danny Saber and dopey rhymes by the irrepressible Ryder. But on Stupid Stupid Stupid, Saber, Ryder and the rest of the Grape posse don't quite squeeze out the same head-spinning elixir. The album opens with Ronald and Nancy Reagan sound alikes pledging their allegiance to getting high in the White House, which doesn't bode well (the former first couple are so eighties, not even second-rate comics bother with them anymore). Thereafter, Saber sticks seventies funk into a nineties production blender, and the results aren't so passé. Hammond organ, Memphis soul horns, congas and falsetto vocals weave into a swirling cut-and-paste barrage of sound effects, ping-pong percussion and zooming synths. Through this maze, Ryder spouts inspired nonsense, loopy rhymes and the occasional melodic hook. Happily mired in a worldful of pills, skanky lovers and petty crime, he is so off the cuff that he sounds barely conscious. Saber provides just enough structure to turn Ryder's spew into party anthems like "Dadi Waz a Badi" and the salacious "Squeaky."
But Ryder starts running on fumes as the disc winds down. Saber' scrambles to give each track an identity – a sitar on "Tell Me Something," helium harmonies on "Money Back Guaranteed," industrial thump for "Rubber Band" – but the surprising twists that made the debut such a revelation are lacking. And with a cover of Frederick Knight's "Lonely," the band starts rummaging through the compost heap of obscure soul songs in search of filler. On "Marbles," Ryder himself slurs:"I can even smell the smell through the window." (GREG KOT -

IN 1995, ARCHTYPAL British yob Shaun Ryder staggered out of the wreckage of the Happy Mondays, insisting that the confused Afrophilia, unmitigated substance abuse, and woozy demi-funk of his defunct band were still good for a laugh. A minor triumph of spirited persistence over competence, Black Grape's 1995 debut It's Great When You're Straight... Yeah showcased Ryder tunelessly rasping lines like "Can you feel the spirit of the Lord?"; punky football chants that mutated into drunken sing alongs; and lilting beats that seemed to celebrate the fact that they didn't stumble and collapse entirely.
Stupid Stupid Stupid rejoins that same party around 4 in the morning to find Black Grape making like a wasted straggler who maintains that everyone is still having a good time--although he sounds ready for bed himself. It's passably dumb fun, but hardly as defiantly stupid as advertised. Rather than lunging forward, the beat generally hops from foot to foot while the guitars riff upward for a few notes, then down again monotonously. Ryder's melodies work minor variations on the Soupdragons' cover of "I'm Free," and he reaches his wit's end with "Get Higher," in which a spot-on Reagan impersonator praises pot. Even Cheech and Chong would have had the sense to mock an incumbent.
In the UK, where the official conduits of hype gush with an egregiousness that shames Stateside equivalents, Stupid has already been dubbed "The Greatest Album in the World," just beating out whatever record held that title last month. True indeed, an ocean's length out of context, Black Grape's impressive level of banality might make them the UK's answer to Sugar Ray; "Marbles," for instance, features a lively jumble of received Stax horns and one-fingered organ doodles, all hooked by the inane query "Why you say yes when you mean no?"
In an age of commodified hedonism, Ryder's commitment to an unchallenging sway that allows the rhythmically stunted to shuffle their feet without having to set down their beers--coupled with his leering interest in "skanky" women--makes this icon of drug-gobbling tastelessness only marginally distinguishable from a frat boy after three pitchers of Bud. Word is still out on whether or not frat boys can distinguish him from each other. (Keith Harris -

Ancor piu` disimpegnato, Stupid, Stupid, Stupid (Radioactive, 1998) fa perno sulla danza sarcastica e sacrilega di Get Higher e sull'orecchiabile Marbles, ma ancora una volta si specializza in barzellette "piccanti" e in sceneggiate stralunate come Money Back Guaranteed . Il brio spavaldo di Rubber Band e soprattutto Dadi Was A Badi tengono desto il mito presso i licei di mezzo mondo. (Piero Scaruffi -

- Get Higher
- Squeaky
- Marbles
- Dadi Was A Badi
- Rubber Band
- Spotlight
- Tell Me Something
- Money Back Guaranteed
- Lonely
- Words


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