Please, please, please ignore this album. Uncle Dysfunktional is a wretched experience. Ryder bellows his way through it all, banging on about drugs and low-life in a voice that can barely muster a tune.
For me, two memories of the Happy Mondays abound. The first is seeing them on Snub TV, performing a chaotic live version of ‘WFL’. It was in every sense astonishing, and launched a short-lived love affair with their recorded output, at least the succession of perfectly anarchic singles that marked their heyday. Memory number two is less pleasant, their appearance at Witnness in 2000, perhaps one of the worst gigs I have ever seen. Shaun Ryder had punched Rowetta on the ferry, Bez had walked and the music was all on DAT. The band split again soon after and that appeared to be that.
Except here they are again, seven years later, back and reduced to Ryder, Bez and just one original musician in the form of Gary Whelan. Miraculously, their first album in 14 years seems like a good idea at first. The opening to ‘Jellybean’ is superb, recalling the band at their Martin Hannett-produced best (this time it’s Howie B on the desk). Then something horrendous happens. Shaun Ryder opens his mouth and it all comes flooding back. The drugs, the fights, the all-round pig-headed stupidity, the seemingly wilful desire to destroy their own legacy while it was ongoing.
Even given all this, Uncle Dysfunktional is still a wretched experience. Ryder bellows his way through it all, banging on about drugs and low-life in a voice that can barely muster a tune. It has songs called ‘Deviants’, ‘Cuntry Disco’ and ‘Dr. Dick’ and reaches a nadir on ‘Weather’, a track about, yes, the weather. Please, please, please ignore this album – all we really need is for the Happy Mondays to be consigned to history as soon as is humanly possible, for their sakes as much as ours.
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