sat 22/06/2024

CD: Inspiral Carpets - Inspiral Carpets | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Inspiral Carpets - Inspiral Carpets

CD: Inspiral Carpets - Inspiral Carpets

Nineties Mancunian mainstays' first album in 20 years contains nuggets of gold

Inspiral Carpets shelter in the shadows of Gorton Monastery in Manchester

There was a time, around 25 years ago, when Inspiral Carpets’ psyche-eyed cow logo, accompanied by the motto “Cool as Fuck”, was ubiquitous on tee-shirts. Along with the Charlatans, they represented the second tier of the “Madchester” movement, trailing behind Happy Mondays and The Stone Roses. Unlike the preposterously revered Roses, however, Inspiral Carpets’ music has drifted out of the radio-played heritage rock canon.

This is a shame. Inspiral Carpets touted a rather different sound from Manchester’s slew of “baggy” also-rans. Not for them a pastiche of Clyde Stubblefield’s “Funky Drummer” beat alongside whispered ecstasy-pouted vocals. Instead, firmly welded to the Hammond organ of mainstay Clint Boon, their music was grounded in fuzz-fuelled 1960s garage bands such as ? and The Mysterians, and snappy Jam-style lyricism. The formula resulted in 11 Top 40 singles between 1990 and 1995 – a good few of them classics – and a shadow cast in the form of their roadie Noel Gallagher’s song writing style, which owed and owes them a stylistic debt.

Their first album for 20 years sees Inspiral Carpets reunite with original singer Stephen Holt who left before the hits began. It’s a likeable set of songs which never disgraces their solid back catalogue and, occasionally, lights up with the melodic sweetness of their best work. There are numbers that adhere to the Sixties punk ethos, punchy, simple and built for bouncing around to at gigs, but the best material is more thoughtful, the Stranglers-like slowie “A to Z of my Heart”, the luscious harmonized “Flying Like a Bird” and, especially, the catchy, ambitious final trio, the proud longing “Forever Here”, “Let You Down”, featuring the poet John Cooper Clarke, and the gorgeous “Human Shield”, a bass-driven epic that appears to be built on the tinkling tune at the heart of the Velvet Underground’s “Sunday Morning”. For these three alone, the Inspirals’ long-coming fifth album is well worth investigating.

Overleaf: Watch the video for "Spitfire"

There are numbers that adhere to the Sixties punk ethos, punchy, simple and built for gigs, but the best material is more thoughtful


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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