Melody Maker, March 5 1994, p. 39 (single of the week)
INSPIRAL CARPETS & MARK E SMITH
I WANT YOU (Mute)
I KNOW why all music journalists love Mark E Smith and believe me, all of them do. It's obligatory, for one thing. You don't get the satchel and the secret map of all the places you can get real cash money for the records they give you for free, without filling in the I Love Mark E Pledge Card. Secondly, like everyone else in the world, even those journalists who live entire continents away from Manchester under assumed names have a probably well-founded terror of saying anything that might be construed negatively by his Sark E Ness. Thirdly, and perhaps most sensibly, more discerning scribes - admittedly, mostly girls - recognise that Mark E Smith is, um, a babe.
Yer Inspirals, whose status as a fair-to-middling indie-type band has little concrete bearing on the incomes of music journalists and whose potential antipathy is probably less threatening to one's health score substantially lower on the babe-a -meter into the bargain. But they've had their groovy moments, like "This Is How It Feels", and all that Hammond (or was that Farfisa) O Rama pop noise. Whee.
The result of their collaboration, as even music critics are probably capable of determining, is that "I Want You" is absolutely bells and whistles 60-feet-tall bloody ACE. Rumbling and ferris-wheeling and likely on too many stimulants for its own good; full of a weird opaque urgency and, of course, those sounds, snarled and spit out by His Egomanical Smithness. Touched by the hand of Mark, everything else here sounds king-sized too.