1995 was an important year. It saw the release of Windows 95, which was the first occasion the Rolling Stones had ever endorsed a 32-bit operating system in a marketing stunt that wasn’t contrived at all. Goldeneye was released, which was the first movie in the James Bond franchise where the game was better than the actual film. And, of course, it was the year Suggs ran out of money and returned to the music business with the release of his debut solo album, The Lone Ranger.
Of all the musical tat that has infested my letterbox in recent months, this is the one I’m most familiar with, and by that I mean I remembered the lead single reasonably well and remembered that there was also another single called Camden Town without knowing anything else about it.
What you actually get when you listen to this is, of course, lots of ska, with touches of two-tone and reggae, because it’s Suggs and that’s what he’s about, but you also get a lot of very strong smells of the Beatles. Suggs has to be a Beatles fan, and I have my suspicions that in 1995 he was listening to a lot of their music again. The first track is an actual cover of a Beatles song. The result is a lot of songs that sound like the sixties played by the Specials. It’s a strange brew and it left an unwelcome tidemark around my listening mug.
|I’m Only Sleeping
|Off On Holiday
I’m not really sure how to describe this album. It’s insubstantial and inoffensive. It has that sound of a lot of 90s music where all the life has been produced out of it so everything is left quiet and dull. There are silly bits that you’d rather weren’t there, like the snoring and the alarm clock at the start of I’m Only Sleeping. There are terrible sub-psychadelia lyrics, like the line “I’m speaking to you in the language of flowers” in Fortune Fish.
In summary, the thing I liked least about this album is how much it’s trying to shoehorn sixties sounds into a very odd mid-90s synth version of ska. The thing I like the most is the bright shade of yellow on the cover because I like yellow things.
Let’s pray that the re-forming of Madness is going well and Suggs won’t need to make another comeback.