REVIEW: Black Grape comeback is creative, infectious, joyous and defiant

Pop Voodoo by Black Grape
Pop Voodoo by Black Grape
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BLACK GRAPE –Pop Voodoo – out now

When I first heard Step On by the Happy Mondays in the late 80s I bought it (on vinyl!) and played it again and again, night after night. It was infectious.

Move forward nearly 30 years and Shaun Ryder is back with the Mondays and has also put out the first Black Grape material in 20 years. I’m sent a copy and straight away hear a song to equal Step On and anything else the Mancunian gutter poet has ever produced.

Nine Lives is a catchy, melodic, defiant piece of perfect pop – and it’s not the only gem on this album.

Set The Grass On Fire, the song Pop Voodoo and I Wanna Be Like You are all classic Ryder, rolling back the years with sidekick Kermit.

Their mix of rock, hip-hop, pop and street poetry, all delivered with Ryder’s barking Manchester drawl, is instantly recognisable and forever catchy.

There are a few weaker tracks though. Expletive-ridden opener Everything You Know Is Wrong – Intro is funny at first but will wear eventually, and album closer Young and Dumb is no classic.

But all in all this is a joyous listen and puts Ryder and his group back at the top of the creative charts.

Jeremy Ransome