Big Arm

Paul Ryder, once of The Happy Mondays, seems to be avoiding their reunion in favour of fronting this, his own band. Itís a bit of a mystery, unless heís just tired of being brother Shaunís shadow. Paul pounds the bass here, much as in the Mondays, in the style that earned him the nickname ĎBig Armí from Ian Brown. Around him, horns punch and general bagginess ensues. Itís a funky and souly groove, bringing a beat thatíll be recognised to fans of a certain age of the Mancs sound. Itís the dancey rug shuffling beat that has become Dad dance-rock to a whole generation of embarrassed teenagers living with a parent in their late thirties. Paul and co-conspirators manage to harness some different beats and things do get genuinely funky once in a while and stay at a danceable level right through, providing the soundtrack to Christmas rave-ups for those of a nostalgic bent. Those include the complimentary Stone rosesí Mani and legend-of-cool Clint Boon. Where it drops the baton is the songs. I can only remember one or two and, while thatís not an issue when Iím boogieing at a gig or shuffling at a club, an album ought, maybe, to grab just a wee bit more.

Itís probably a mark of the mellowness of age that I accept the singing etc as not an issue and take the whole gentle piece on its own terms as a welcome sign of life from people whose chemical indulgence would not have led one to expect longevity. Stick it on and a wave of acceptance and niceness and positive vibes swell up from these guys, just happy to be still alive.

Ross McGibbon