Tuned In To Music

Reflections from a lifetime

Review: Happy Mondays, Uncle Dysfunktional

Happy Mondays were pretty much the poster band for the drug-saturated Madchester rave scene in the late 1980s.  They were notorious for their “Who gives a shit?” attitude and massive drug use.  They happy mondaysbriefly burned brightly and then crashed.  Now they’re back.

Well, sort of.  The only members of the original Happy Mondays in this version are band leader Shaun Ryder, drummer Gary Whelan and Bez who dances wildly, takes a lot of drugs and holds maracas during the process.  (Really.  I’m not making this up.)  In the way the brand name “Kleenex” has come to be a generic term for disposable tissues used to soak up bodily wastes in the US, “Bez” is a generic term for “a member of the band who makes no musical contribution” in the UK. 

“Uncle Dysfunktional” is Happy Mondays’ first album in 15 years.  Unlike this year’s crop of dead bands whoring for money doing “reunion tours” for the nostalgia crowd (i.e., The Police, Genesis etc.) Happy Mondays is back with all new material.  That’s the good news.  The bad news is that in the 15 years since their last album they’ve learned two songs:  The one with the mind-numbingly simplistic drumming and the ugly and repetitious chanted/shouted/(kind of) sung vocals and the one with the mind-numbingly simplistic drumming and the not so ugly but still repetitious chanted/shouted/(kind of) sung vocals.  These two songs are given different lyrics, different and often solid bass lines and sprinkled with different studio effects to make up the eleven tracks on the album.  This works very well on opening tune “Jellybean” and one or two others but it doesn’t take long for the formula to become overwhelmingly tedious.

The original band members are in their early to mid 40s and they are trying waaaaaay too hard to come across as edgy, with it, and dangerous in the current musical scene.  The booklet photography, many of the chanted lyrics and the vocal style are often purposefully ugly and crass.  These guys are so self-conscious about being “bad” that they sound utterly ridiculous.  They even rap on one tune.  It’s beyond dreadful.

File this one under “We listen so you don’t have to”.  Fans of the original band may well have a different response to “Uncle Dysfunktional” but if you’re not one of those, save your money.

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10/10/2007 - Posted by | CD reviews, music, music reviews

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