Ian Brown's fifth solo album 'The World Is Yours' is a powerful and uninhibited offering. It incongruously, yet somehow seamlessly, fuses his characteristic Manchester indie style with sweeping orchestra and bleepy electronic noises.
The former Stone Roses frontman has taken it upon himself to tackle subjects as thorny and diverse as poverty in Africa, the war in Iraq and the demonisation of teens. In typical style he doesn't mince his words, and delivers his lyrics with a confident, languorous swagger. Crucially, he manages to avoid sounding overly preachy, and the seriousness of the subject matter is matched by the dramatic orchestration.
He's drawn on the talents of some musical heavyweights: former Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones lends a funky, distorted guitar riff to 'Sister Rose' and bassists Andy Rourke (ex Smiths) and Paul Ryder (ex Happy Mondays) provide some jaunty bass lines throughout.
The title track sets the tone of the album, its funk-infused, theatrical sound paving the way for the lushly composed songs. 'Street Children' has a cinematic feel with sweeping strings and an emphatic drum beat.
On the much anticipated first single, 'Illegal Attacks', featuring breathless vocals from Sinéad O'Connor, the somewhat unoriginal lyrics are more than compensated for by the excellent instrumentation
Ian Brown has created a stirring and inventive album, with barely a bad moment throughout. It is an accomplished record for an artist with a great musical ambition and the talent to match it.