John Squire - Time Changes Everything

When the Stone Roses split after the notorious Reading Festival appearance it was no major surprise. After all here was a band who had lost it's creative lynch pin Squire and beat master Reni and replaced it with two virtual unknowns, Aziz Ibrahim and Robbie Maddix. While Aziz could certainly compete with Squire riff for riff and Maddix was a competent drummer, the chemistry was missing - the gang mentality that was at the heart of the Roses was gone forever and it was on a one way path to the inevitable split. Now following his time in the Seahorses, Squire has chosen to go it alone with "Time Changes Everything" and take on lead vocal duties for the first time in his career. The big question is has Squire still got the songs which made us fall in love with the Roses or is it another Seahorses sized mistake?

When you hear Squire sing for the first time on "Joe Louis" it's almost a Stars in Your Eyes tribute to Dylan, yet compared to the foghorn vocals of Brown it's the voice of an angel. In fact with repeated listens the vocals become the most endearing thing about the whole album - there's a sense of fragility at times where you have the feeling that Squire himself has doubts about his own vocals and is standing in the headlights with his vocals uttering nothing more than whimper. The very fact that Squire has taken full control over lyrics and vocals heightens the lyrical themes of which most songs are heartfelt letters to Brown begging for a return to the good old days where they would knock about South Manchester. When you consider that just 12 months prior to this album coming out he was working with the Shining's Duncan Baxter and Simon Jones you sense that he felt that this really could be his last calling card to Brown and really needed to lay everything on the line in the process. "I Miss You" and "All I Really Want" are obvious and again perhaps they needed to be rather than wrapping it up in metaphors and similes.

While Brown has over the years followed the beats, Squire has retreated further into the classic rock elements which inhabited the Roses "Second Coming" and "Time Changes Everything" really is the logical next step. Never really intruding too much on the listener it aims to soothe your soul rather than beating you round the head. It's the sound of a man who is content with his lot, yet still feels that one thing is missing in his life and would rather be philosophical about it rather than letting it rule his life. He simply wants to clear up all the bad feelings that have been building throughout the years and remind a certain person of how it used to be.

"Time Changes Everything" is an album which truly does remind us of why the Roses were so special. With Ian Brown successively destroying a generations treasure memories with each successive disappointing album release, Squire has just offered an open invitation to at least mend things on a personal level, if not necessarily on a band level. Only time will tell, but Squire has wiped out all bad memories of the Seahorses, if only Brown can accept this olive branch we may just be able to forgive Brown for the last 5 years.

Alex McCann

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