Although history has judged Inspiral Carpets to be the Shed 7 of the Madchester scene, there was a time – back when the Man from Delmonte were sharing the bill with Johnny Dangerously in Albert Square – when the Inspirals were a band to be reckoned with. Back before Tom Hingley fronted the band, before ‘This is how it feels to be lonely’, the Inspirals were fronted by Stephen Holt and they wore their garage bona fides with aplomb. Fast forward twenty years: Hingley has quit the band and Holt is back and with him comes a healthy measure of urgency and ambition. You could hear it in the first single, ‘You’re So Good To Me’, a drum-driven three and a half minutes that wouldn’t have been out of place on their Cow EP back in 1987. The Inspirals sound as we probably all understand it – a combination of standard Northern indie supplemented by Clint Boon’s characteristic organ noise – is all present and correct.
Whether there is anything here as good as songs like ‘Keep the Circle Round’ or even the original version of ‘Directing Traffic’ is probably besides the point. If you were an Inspirals fan back in the day, it’s highly likely you’ll find much here to keep yourself amused with. And let’s face it, if you’re an Inspirals fan, you are who this album is aimed at. The Inspirals failed to break America back in the day and they’re not going to do it now. What they want is a Fall-sized audience prepared to buy the new records, attend the gigs and purchase the tshirts. If they keep puttng out material like this, that should be well within their grasp.