The Verve – [Album]

Wednesday, 08 October 2008

In this day and age, you can’t help but be a little skeptical when a band attempts a comeback after several years. Comebacks tend to offer too much change and too little heart; too much effort in being different and too little truth in what is being projected from the artist’s mouth. With that being said, a band’s return to the glare of publicity can often leave us wondering what the precedent behind the album was—a flashy big bang (which often results in a thoughtless pile of uninspired muck) or solid material that is actually worth your interest? In The Verve’s case, it’s the latter.

Though front man Richard Ashcroft spent time in the studio between 1999 and 2007 working on his own creations, Forth is the first release for The Verve since 1997’s Urban Hymns, which included “The Drugs Don’t Work,” “Sonnet” and the well-known hit “Bittersweet Symphony.”

With tracks like “Sit and Wonder," “Rather Be” and “Judas," Forth offers a wistful ambience, offering a fusion of poignant guitar riffs and soothing drum beats which remain consistent throughout the entire album. And if you know Richard Ashcroft at all, you need not be reminded that his haunting vocals have you hanging on to every last word. There is something very comforting in Ashcroft’s tone—it sets the scene for any placid experience. But don’t let the aforementioned influence you to file Forth with your good-for-background-music-only collectionthere is substance here, believe me.

Ashcroft, staying true to his sound, revisits “Check the Meaning” from his 2002 solo album Human Conditions on Forth’s sixth track. The choruses share an uncanny likeness, yet “I See Houses” still remains innovative with a softer approach on the piano.

The drunken, fickle guitar in “Numbness” brought me back to my high school stoner days with its entrancing riffs, leaving me swaying along in my seat, eyes closed, lost in reverie. You might even say it has a late 1960’s influence—not exactly the years I attended high school but really, who didn’t raid their father’s collection at the age of 15 and claim it their own? “Columbo” joins “Numbness” in that aspect—you can almost hear The Doors being knocked on with its psychedelic sound.

Truthfully, there are only two tracks on this album that are buoyant and upbeat, perhaps for the sake of balance. “Noise Epic” and “Love is Noise," which is the type of song you want to crank up when you’re traveling down the highway on a sunny day.

So before you recoil from checking this album out due to the usual suspicions attached to comeback albums, consider this—if Forth served one purpose and one purpose only, it would be to confirm that The Verve is still The Verve we knew and loved eleven years ago, possibly with a little more life experience.


“Mover” from Forth – [mp3]

Forth is out now. Buy it on Amazon.


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