Happy Mondays Pills 'N' Thrills And Bellyaches on 180g LP
Remastered & Pressed on 180g Vinyl in Celebration of the Iconic Album's 25th Anniversary!
In 1990, Manchester, or Madchester as it had been reinvented, ruled the music world. It was a city of mavericks and misfits. The home of Tony Wilson’s Factory Records, the Hacienda nightclub, The Stone Roses, a British rave culture revitalizing acid house and forming an experimental crossover between alternative rock and dance music. It was the city of New Order, the late, great producer Martin Hannett, baggy Joe Bloggs jeans and pretty much the last recognizable youth culture movement Britain has seen. Central to everything was a bunch of ruffians from the industrial-metropolitan borough of Salford in Greater Manchester. Brothers Shaun and Paul Ryder, Gaz Whelans, Paul Davis, Mark Day and Mark Berry (a man universally known as loose-limbed groove machine Bez) were not so much a band as a gang who channeled their own experience of working class boredom and misdemeanor meshed through Manchester’s prism of influences into a brilliantly unique vernacular.
Through the legacy of punk and post-punk and artists such as The Buzzcocks, A Certain Ratio, The Fall, Magazine, John Cooper Clarke, The Smiths, Joy Division, The Chameleons, 808 State and The Durutti Column, Manchester had long since been set-up as breeding ground for off-road originality. It was in the water. By the time the Happy Mondays were set to release the generation-defining Pills ‘N’ Thrills and Bellyaches album in November 1990, the Mondays had already two full studio albums under their belt. The first was the bewilderingly titled Squirrel and G-Man Twenty Four Hour Party People Plastic Face Carnt Smile (White Out) produced by former Velvet Underground man and Welsh avant-garde figurehead John Cale. It’s follow-up was the Martin Hannett-produced Bummed which saw a substantial evolution of the Mondays sound, utilizing electronics and establishing the album’s trademark reverb-heavy drum sound. But maybe even more so than the albums the tracks "Hallelujah" and "Wrote For Luck" became infinitely remixable club anthems.
Produced by dance music and remix gurus Paul Oakenfold and Steve Osbourne, Pills ‘N’ Thrills and Bellyaches represented a brighter sound, perhaps something that would encapsulate the feelgood hedonism of the ecstasy generation, although Shaun E Ryder’s archetype sleaze and babble-talk was still present, particularly on the singles "Loose Fit" and the brilliant psychedelic-disco of "Kinky Afro." But it was the album’s centre-piece "Step On," a reworking of the 1971 John Kongos track" He’s Gonna Step On You Again" reinvented with infectious Italo-house style piano motif and Rowetta’s soul-power backing vocals that brought Happy Mondays to the Top 5 singles charts and Top of the Pops. And for a moment in time it felt like the party would last forever. It didn’t. But it was great while it did. 25 years later the only decent thing to do is to commemorate a record that is a definable document burnt into the history of British music and youth culture with a brand new remastered 180g vinyl pressing.