Turns Into Stone

The Stone Roses

Silvertone, 1992

http://thestoneroses.org

REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 01/29/2013

Released as a stopgap between the only two Stone Roses albums, Turns Into Stone is a collection of singles and B-sides, with two of the 11 tracks alternate versions of songs from the eponymous debut.

Since much of the material was recorded around the same time as that album, it has the same sort of sound – colorful, swirling rock with a debt to ‘60s groups and a hint of dance pop. Not only was it a unique sound, it more or less gave birth to the “Madchester” scene and marked the advent of “Britpop,” a movement that would bring Oasis, Blur, Pulp, Suede and a few others to the forefront of ‘90s alternative rock.

Many of the songs would have fit well on my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 The Stone Roses, from the sunny “Mersey Paradise” and the neo-psychedelic “Standing Here” to the brief, Beatles-inspired “The Hardest Thing In the World,” which was the flip side to the band’s first real single in advance of the debut. The A-side was a longer, gutsier and altogether better take on “Elephant Stone,” which is present here and showed up in shorter form on the debut.

Although the album doesn’t quite have a natural flow, being as it is a patchwork, it is like other releases of this type in that it forms a complete picture of the band. A song like “Simone” would come off as indulgent and filler on a standard release, but here it provides a glimpse into the various ideas – long fade-in, backward instruments, swirling textures – that would flesh out the various masterpieces on The Stone Roses.

Several of the songs are deserved B-sides, solid yet unremarkable, such as “Going Down,” the ballad “Where Angels Play,” and “What The World is Waiting For,” while the version of “Fools Gold” appears to be the same 10-minute funk workout that closed the debut album and is unnecessary.

The best song here is “One Love,” which is a bit of a rewrite of “Fools Gold” that ends up being more successful, mainly because of the hyper guitar licks and the funky, flawless strut of the rhythm section. The song is structured similarly – standard verses, a lacking chorus, and a long instrumental fadeout – but the energy is palpable and the instrumental part less repetitive. The closer “Something’s Burning” tries for a similar feel to the aforementioned two songs but falls short, although in its drone the song still has a hypnotic power, the way the best Stone Roses songs always do.

Turns Into Stone is valuable for Stone Roses and Britpop fans because it collects the hard-to-find songs from a great band, even if the end result is an expected hit-or-miss grab bag instead of an organic album. More important, it fleshes out the story of a great band that was unfairly sidelined way before its time.

Rating: B-

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