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Amateur Night In The Big Top
Amateur Night in the Big Top by Shaun Ryder on Spotify
The album is subtitled "Clowns and Pet Sounds". Ryder was keen to work on some new material and over a period of early morning sessions in Carroll's garage studio Amateur night in the Big Top began to take shape. The album was never conceived as a commercially focused release-it's an honest hard edge punk record. There's an overall feel and concept; Ryder's lyrics are autobiographical, touching on his early days with Happy Mondays in "The Story" and "" while "Clowns" and "Long Legs" express his feelings about the music industry and the legal issues he was facing.
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The Happy Mondays ' greatest moments weren't always about the words, but it was always hard to separate Shaun Ryder 's surrealistic, primitive genius lyrics from the beat, thrust, and import of the music. Ironic, then, that on his first official solo outing, the charmingly named Amateur Night in the Big Top , his inspired, mad verse takes second billing to the echoing club beats of it all. Not that this is entirely a bad thing. Ryder , or his producers, have kept a keen ear on the upheavals and turmoil of club culture, sometimes arriving at bracingly atmospheric beats equal parts dub and trip-hop that are never held to any one doctrine. In his glory days, Ryder would use this as a launching pad toward lunacy, but here, he rides the beat, never once propelling it with his exquisite bad taste and absurd pan-cultural irreverence.