Happy Mondays - Pills 'n' Thrills and Bellyaches
Happy Mondays: Shaun Ryder (vocals); Mark Day (guitar); Paul Davis (keyboards, programming); Paul Ryder (bass); Gary Whelan (drums); Bez.Additional personnel: Rowetta (vocals); Tony Castro (percussion); Simon Machan (programming).From the opening bars of this near-masterpiece, the Madchester generation was defined, celebrated, and perhaps laid to rest. Combining the best elements of their earlier releases--stolen riffs, howling in a whisper, being generally rude and obnoxious yet somehow entirely endearing, the Happy Mondays created the ultimate sex, drugs, and rock & roll package. With the acoustic strumming of the LaBelle rip-off "Kinky Afro," PILLS 'N' THRILLS' scene is set. In "God's Cop," Ryder pontificates about the ease of drug procurement, from his position as a rock star with a mobile phone. From here all hell breaks loose. There's the song for Donovan Leitch (complete with Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel's most famous lyric inserted for good measure), and "Bob's Your Uncle," the track for the ladies, where a foursome is conducted on Ecstasy. Right, Shaun. The highlight of PILLS'N'THRILLS (and perhaps of Happy Mondays' career in general) is the hit "Step On." Much more than an album for people who like some music with their drugs, PILLS'N'THRILLS is one of the coolest records ever made.