While there’s no new album just yet, The Stone Roses has finally released new material and it’s a welcome return to the music scene as they remind us all with ease that they’ve got a lot of monkey brain genius to bring to the table. Following on from the first return single, All For One last month, Ian Brown, John Squire, Mani and Reni hit the ground running like lemurs on Friday (10th June 2016) with Beautiful Thing and it’s an instant classic in the making.
It’s been a massive twenty one years since the band’s last single – 1995’s Begging You – and for fans it probably feels like waiting for a late night bus in the pouring rain after the best rave of their lives; they wait forever out in the cold and then two come along. While the intervening years can only be described as the lost years in our books, it’s great to have the band back with new material, and if anything, Beautiful Thing is even more impressive than their May return.
It kicks off with a slo-mo, reverse engineered remix of the All For One chorus before dropping into the stylish groove of the single, which is built around a solid shuffling percussion from Reni. Brown’s vocals are without comparison as ever and Squire’s guitar flicks and solos are a psych rock masterclass. Mani adds in some brilliantly pitched bass hooks, capping off a great team effort that will hopefully light the touch paper for a full album in the not too distant future.
There’s a little section towards the five minute mark – out of a whopping 7:02 – where it sounds like it’s going to elevate the track to Resurrection-esque euphoria, but instead it dips back down to a more tranquil, slow version of the chorus. It’s a small point, in and among what is a quality song, but it does sort of feel like a bit of a missed opportunity not to lift things higher.
However, what you can always rely on where The Stone Roses and lengthy singles are concerned, is a complete lack of filler. It’s 7:02 of nuanced, interconnecting sequences, loops and segues of great alt rock psychedelia and it does the impossible of living up to the band’s epic, but contained back catalogue.
It may not be earth shattering, or quite as good as The Stone Roses’ highest impact earlier music, but it’s still a class single that we can see ourselves listening to for years to come. It fits brilliantly into the wider heritage of the band and if there’s more where this came from then we should be in for a good few years of music.
The Stone Roses, Beautiful Thing single review: 4/5