The only way to cut a band is to put the boys in a room and play, and look in each other’s eyeballs,” says Keith Richards, fixing me with a glare. “Don’t get me going on modern-day music. Push-button drums and everything synthesised. Digital recording is a one-way toilet.”
The Human Riff is, like his bandmates, feeling decidedly bullish about the Stones’ first album of original material in 18 years, Hackney Diamonds, and rightly so. This is the record their fans have wanted them to make for decades, deftly correcting any suggestion of their becoming little more than a heritage act or a money-printing corporation.
In the second half of the band’s discography, there are plenty of undervalued gems, but there has sometimes been a nagging feeling that they were gradually turning into the world’s best Rolling Stones tribute act. This time, as Mark Beaumont puts it in his four-star review in The Independent, Mick Jagger delights in conjuring “their bed-hopping mid-Sixties days as rock’n’roll reprobates drenched in ‘the smell of sex and gas’ at ‘the filthy flat in Fulham’”, then “bawls and yowls about blurry nights, media intrusion and relationship ructions like an eternal A-list twentysomething”.
Join our commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies