Ian Brown

Solarized (Koch)

Whether owing to a dearth of chemistry or creativity, the chances of lead singers of famous bands cultivating successful solo careers are slim to none. For every Morrissey or Paul McCartney who find chart success, a dozen Richard Ashcrofts or Mick Jaggers arrive to replenish the dollar bins. In some respects, ex-Stone Roses vocalist Ian Brown has given up trying to forge a new legacy separate from his first group. During one live concert last summer, Brown hired a Roses cover band and played a set full of baggy-dance classics like "She Bangs the Drums" and "I Wanna Be Adored," along with songs from his solo career. Nevertheless, his new album finds the lazy-voiced Mancunian immersed in far darker -- and sonically bewitching -- climes than the Roses explored. A feverish tumble of red-eyed menace and sinister beats, Solarized overall sounds like a club night held in a dripping batcave. Although by the end of the album this murkiness becomes monotonous, enough stylistic curveballs -- taffy-pulled fuzzbombs ("Destiny or Circumstance"), flecks of Spanish horns ("Time Is My Everything") and a dizzy, psychedelic Noel Gallagher collaboration ("Keep What Ya Got") -- make Solarized a solid endeavor.

 
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