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Ian Brown Album Review: Unfinished Monkey Business

Ian Brown Unfininshed Monkey Business album coverWhen you go from Geffen Records funding (or destroying depending on your view of David Geffen) your album it must certainly be a kick in the nuts to have to record in your own house. Though I suppose it’s that home cooked, half-baked sound that is what makes 1998’s album release of “Unfinished Monkey Business” by Ian Brown so love-able in the first place.

The lead song from the album is “My Star” though it does lend a lot to Dear Prudence. As a guy so wanting it to be known he was original with his first band it is a bit head scratching to note it’s influence upon the song. However look past that slight nod and look towards the great vocals and lyrical ability of Ian Brown to make even the most boring combination of words sound majestic. Another track “Can’t See Me” is 3/4th’s Stone Roses in that it’s a loop Reni did on drums and Mani played on Bass. Though the bass line is ripped from Breaking Into Heaven and the drum loop was something leftover from Second Coming sessions the sound does feel put together very nicely. The laid back dont give a fuck vocals are what Ian Brown does and does well and never more so than on this track. The Ecstacy happiness once preached by Ian goes by the wayside on the track “Ice Cold Cube”. Cube is a bitter angst ridden lyrical track that doesn’t fit too well and whose outtro guitar doesn’t work either. But it does. It’s so gnarly it works. Another track filled with bitterness is “What Happened To Ya” and leans a little more towards the sound The Roses tried before going into Overdub hell with it’s slide acoustic guitar and steady beat with hushed rythmic vocals over top. “Sunshine” might as well be something I recorded with it’s basic guitar chords and rhymes. However it’s a song made by a man with a musical ear of a legend who never really picked up a guitar yet knows what sounds good. Funky, but works.

There are definitely a few tracks people won’t like such as everything not having lyrics and even some of the tracks that do you’ll probably dislike. This album is more for the “hardcore” fans than it is some greater artistic statement or show of bravado though it does manage even to pull that off. “Unfinished Monkey Business” shows a man saying “look what the fuck I can do in my living room and I’ll even make it sound cooler than what you could make it. ” And he does.

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