Secret Meeting score: 65
by Andrew Lewis
Despite my initial reservations, Ripples – Ian Brown’s first LP release after ten years in the (solo) wilderness – is a half-decent return to form.
Lead single, First World Problems, is a groover of an opener, and has all the elements you’d expect from the former Roses’ man, but is most certainly a little weak lyrically. But then, the LP takes a surprising turn and is more melancholic for the next forty minutes. The surprise cover of Barrington Levy’s Black Roses is enough to put anyone off, and despite the press release making a big deal out of IB taking over guitar duties for the record, third track Breathe & Breathe Easy (The Everness of Now) sounds like it is being played by someone during their first ever guitar lesson.
But things soon improve. Both From Chaos to Harmony and the title track are absolute vintage King Monkey, as is Soul Satisfaction, which recalls arguably his greatest moment as a solo artist – Music of The Spheres. Break Down The Walls (Warm Up Jam) tops the record off perfectly with a lovely bit of Moss Side reggae. Yes please!
All in all, happy enough – and a mostly welcome return.