Album: John Squire

Marshall's House, North Country

It's only February, and already the battle to find the year's worst album is all but over as John Squire weighs in with an 11-song collection of quite breathtaking awfulness. Once guitarist with The Stone Roses, Squire's talent for six-string mimicry had him briefly ranked alongside indie contemporaries such as Johnny Marr and Bernard Butler, before subsequent endeavours with The Seahorses and his 2002 solo debut, Time Changes Everything, effectively whittled away his reputation. The latter project introduced the world to Squire's singing voice, a Dylanesque drawl which has deteriorated here into a croak of such affected weariness it's impossible to believe his backing band weren't desperately stifling titters. Several tracks here ("Hotel Room", "People in the Sun") find him returning to the desultory shuffle mode of The Stone Roses' more auspicious releases, though the most effective ("Summertime", "Room in Brooklyn") employ a jangle that harks back via REM to The Byrds. None, alas, has a melody designed to burrow into one's consciousness, and even if they did, it's unlikely you'd notice it over the sound of chortling at Squire's vocals and risible lyrics. The track titles are taken from Edward Hopper paintings, for what that's worth (nothing). One star out of pity.

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