Happy Mondays - Bummed - Review
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critics' view

Released as a new musical movement was gaining focus and shape after the second summer of love, Bummed represented something of a great leap forward for the Happy Mondays. The shambolic monotony of their John Cale-produced debut, Squirrel and G-Man 24 Hour Party People Plastic Face Carnt Smile (White Out) was replaced by well, a Martin Hannett-produced shambolic monotony. However, it is the rogue heart and spirit that beats away here is what stops the album from collapse.

Given the pedigree of the city, Shaun Ryder's lyrics are some of the best to come out of Manchester, bringing a cast of no-hopers and vagabonds to life over the album's 10 tracks, all delivered with a great wit and slurry anti-charm. Here are characters like “Mad Cyril” (which took, like Big Audio Dynamite’s “E=Mc2” before it, inspiration from the Nic Roeg/Donald Cammell film Performance) or “Fat Lady Wrestlers”, and notably “Some C*nt From Preston” ('Smoking wild-grown mari-jo-wana keeps that smile on my face'), which had to be renamed “Country Song”.

The Irish showband-flavoured "Lazyitis", although a direct swipe from "Ticket To Ride", is remarkable, highlighting the group’s growing musical adeptness and Ryder’s lyrical disdain. It was Martin Hannett’s final production of significance, and Central Station’s saucy sleeve help Bummed capture the Mondays exactly as they were, untrained, vulgar, as far outside the marketing machine as possible. And very very beautiful.

Wrote For Luck is the album's monster, one of the handful of definitive Mondays' tracks. When it was later remixed as "W.F.L" by Paul Oakenfold and Vince Clarke, Madchester as we know it was born.

Daryl Easlea
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The BBC's album reviews ended in 2013, although the pages are archived for retrospective reading.
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