Review : Ian Brown – First World Problems

After almost a decade of studio silence, the legendary Ian Brown is returning with new music. ‘Ripples’ will reach our ears on the 1st March next year, and in the meantime we’ve been handed a little taster of what’s to come with the single ‘First World Problems’.

First World Problems’ is the sound of a musician just doing what they enjoy, and it sounds very impressive. The track is incredibly catchy, has a delightful groove, and, most gratifyingly, sounds completely organic and homemade, which I suppose is no surprise when you find out all the instruments were played by Brown and his offspring.

Since his solo career began over 20 years ago following the initial breakup of the Stone Roses, Brown has had his greatest successes using a grand, orchestral sound. That’s not what you’re getting on ‘First World Problems’, and frankly you won’t really miss the strings of ‘F.E.A.R’ when you hear it.This is something different altogether.

The track is led by a simple 60s-inspired keyboard riff, backed by a delicious bassline; both supplied by son number one Casey, whilst son number two Frankie chips in later on with the electric guitar. It really does sound like a few lads jamming in a bedroom, and that’s the joy of it.

The lyrical message is something arguably can well get behind; which is simply for people to stop moaning when they could easily have it much worse. No disagreements there. The words are memorable and form part of the seamless, easy flow of the song.

Whilst the lyrics are perfectly solid and dependable, they do definitely drift into being repetitive as the track goes past the five minute mark. In all honesty, it really doesn’t need to be as long as it is and it becomes a little bit hard to focus as the hook loops back around. However, if you’re the kind of person that likes to close your eyes and get lost in a song, that’s probably a good thing.

All in all, ‘First World Problems’ does nothing if not intrigue you as to what Brown has up his sleeve on the remaining nine tracks of ‘Ripples’. What we can glean from this release is that King Monkey has come back to have a bit of fun and potentially surprise us all (the two reggae covers in the tracklist attest to that), so we’re all curious to see what else he comes out with between now and March.