Friday, December 10, 2010

Happy Mondays - Pills 'N' Thrills, and Bellyaches (1990)

Although forming in 1980, they didn’t really pick up momentum until ’85 with their freshman 12” forty five EP. John Peel was thoroughly impressed and invited them to do a session and from there on the sky was the limit. The sextet released their first album, Squirrel and G-Man Twenty Four Hour Party People Plastic Face Carnt Smile (White Out) (phew) in 1987, to some fairly critical acclaim and reached number 4 on the UK indie charts. The band eventually played a major part in the Madchester scene of the early 90s with their groovy, sexy, debauching moiety of pop and rock and acid house, funk, and northern soul. Produced by trance guru Paul Oakenfold, the classic Pills 'N' Thrills, and Bellyaches is their most well known album and was released in 1990 at the height of their success (going platinum in the UK). Singles “Step On” and “Kinky Afro” were the two biggest singles from this album, but you could have easily chosen from a handful of hits to replace them. Their stay was hardly meteoric, however, as they followed up this with Yes, Please which also was fairly successful and their precursor, Bummed sold decently as well.

All in all, Happy Mondays make for good party music. It has just enough rock to not fall into raver kitsch, and has just enough electronic influences to make them stand out among their peers. I’m sure there’s better music out there to pop a tab of MDMA to (The KLF’s White Room comes immediately to mind), but there’s little doubt that this album was intended for consuming drugs and indulging in mindless youthful perversions - which - is a good thing.

Rating: 9/10


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