King Monkey returns with a star-studded political diatribe...really!
Helen Groom 2007-09-21
Never one to pull his punches, Ian Brown’s fifth solo album manages to combine a vitriolic state of the world address with a string-laden, Manchester-infused Bond theme backing. The World Is Yours places electronic bleeps against a bed of sometimes raucous guitar and sweeping orchestral sounds, all topped off by Brown’s shimmery, languorous vocals.
Its an interesting sound, and during a self-imposed cannabis-free writing session, Brown has turned his attention to hypocrisy of the church, the Iraq war, the plight of street children, and the demonisation of the young. Yet he manages to avoid preaching at his audience, and the lushness and creativeness of the music steering him well clear of the annoying sanctimony of Richard Ashcroft, amongst others. Not the greatest of singers, Brown makes up for that with passion, style and swagger – and delivers the lyrics with conviction.
It is also jam-packed full of star turns, with former Sex Pistols, Steve Jones and Paul Cook, lending some blistering, buzzing guitar lines, and ferocious drumming to “Sister Rose” and “Me And You Forever”, while former Happy Mondays bassist Paul Ryder and ex-Smiths bassist Andy Rourke add a smattering of funky sounds throughout. Sinead O’Connor also pops up, lending a breathy, whispering vocal to lead single “Illegal Attacks” and “Some Folks Are Hollow”.
“Me And You Forever”, and the funk-infused “The World Is Yours” are both lovely tracks, making up for “On Track”, which does not showcase Brown’s occasionally flat voice at its best. “Sister Rose” has some real bite to it, with burning guitar and intense lyrics, and is a sharp contrast to the lush feel of “Goodbye To The Broken”. And for those considering shelling out for the special edition bonus CD, the treat of a fully orchestral version of the album awaits.
There is a cinematic feel to the breadth and depth of the sound here. It’s unmistakeably Manchester indie, but Brown has borrowed the best of classical and electronic music to create into something distinctly individual, intriguing and down right brilliant.