Follow Us on Twitter

Big Arm - Radiator

Big Arm, Radiator

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 4 out of 5

QUESTION... How does an iconic bass legend reinvent himself as a front man after lurking in the shadows behind his outspoken brother for 20 years?

Well, if the new album from Big Arm is anything to go by it’s pretend that the baggy/Madchester era never really ended and recreate some funky flavours of old.

With Big Arm, Paul Ryder, the founding member of the legendary Happy Mondays and co-writer of eight top 10 singles, including Loose Fit and Step On, has rolled back the years to deliver an album that’s the culmination of a lifetime at the top of the music industry.

Radiator oozes infectious pop melodies, is underpinned by Ryder’s distinct vocals and marks a positively cataclysmic shift from the dark annals of Mondays twisted delerium into groove-ful, funked-up, upbeat, optimistic music-making.

Old skool Mondays fans and will undoubtedly get their groove on with the album’s hybrid fusion of f**ked-up fatness and souled-up chill.

Ironically, Big Arm are named after the nickname given to Ryder by fellow Manc rockers Mani and Ian Brown and the new project brings together a set of classic Northern Soul inspired songs which, according to Ryder, “are as good as the songs I wrote in the early Nineties with The Mondays”.

And if you have any doubt that Radiator delivers the goods for fans of the Baggy/Madchester era, then consider this – Mani from the Stone Roses describes it as “simply stunning” and Sex Pistols drummer Paul Cook and Stone Roses frontman Ian Brown have both been spotted at the band’s recent showcases.

Indeed, Ian Brown was so impressed that he instantly signed Big Arm up as his support band in a series of upcoming arena shows this autumn and also asked Mr Ryder to join him with Paul Cook and Pistols legendary guitarist Steve Jones to record tracks for his own new album.

Tracks to look out for include the dead-cool album opener Flashbacks, with its snappy, insistent beats and Second Coming era guitar loops.

Get Back is just plain funky, complete with stabs of electronica and brass, Love Is soars with a sweeping romanticism, Welcome offers the sort of sunshine vibe our own English summer never managed, and Sunrays is the sort of old skool romp that makes you pine for the good ‘ol days of the Stone Roses, the Mondays and Inspiral Carpets.

Sweet Soul Music is a lively romp that drops ace guitar riffs like they were going out of fashion and album closer Flexin’ is just a damn fine way to round things off – a hazy, vocally layered chillout record that harks back to the Loose Fit era Mondays.

Big Arm’s Radiator is an LP to cuddle up and warm to as the cold days of Winter approach. It’s a retro joyride that marks a very welcome return for the lesser-known Ryder. And it’s an album that you really must rush out and buy!

Download picks: Flashbacks, Get Back, Welcome, Sunrays, Love Is, Flexin’

Track listing:

  1. Flashbacks
  2. Into You Now
  3. Get Back
  4. Ska 3000
  5. Love Is
  6. Electraglide
  7. Welcome
  8. Sunrays
  9. Sweet Soul Music
  10. Flexin’