After the band’s second split in 1999 following the release of all time classic Urban Hymns, The Verve returned in 2007 in preparation for the highly anticipated forth album and much to the excitement of their huge fan base, it retained their roots from the previous three successes.
The UK chart topper knocked The Scripts debut release of the top spot and opens with Sit and Wonder, and the album is instantly reflecting on their earlier work with an almost signature drum sound before experimental guitars and of course, Ashcrofts vocals – what put ‘the’ into Verve.
Even I, a known Verve fan, have to admit that my first listen to Love Is Noise was surprising. If Teletubbies can’t describe it, nothing can, but strangely enough, the sounds throughout the song which resembles the classic children’s characters actually work for the band! A slight grain in the vocals contrast to the slickness of the music that lays underneath it, adding a weird but very wonderful texture to the song. In the final chorus, this stands out further, making the song addictive – almost as if you’re jumping around in the back of you’re own mind, like drugged up hallucinations on an aeroplane. It’s weird, but probably wonderful. If that’s my view of the song, I’ll let you make your own judgement of the video…
Rather Be is another song that retains that typical Verve sound, in every way possible. The second single from the album was followed with rumours of lyrical meaning, but Ashcroft confirmed in an interview; “lyrically in a way t’s kind of we’re bombarde with so much information now. There’s too much. You know, there’s a point where you just have to switch off, because i don’t believe we are sort of wired to be able to take in so much information, we become even numb to it or it makes us very, very fearful of the world outside the door when you’ve got the rolling news going, you’ve got all this death and destruction”.
He also says “on the other hand, even what it’s saying is I’d rather be here, you know, it’s, I’ve said it before, ‘We’re on a rock in infinity. We’re on this planet, man.’ It’s just, isn’t that the miracle? Is this the miracle, the miracle?’ Is waking up and looking out? It’s very difficult, I think, in the modern age to find time to, or space, to really invest a bit of thought into the fact that you are on a planet in infinity”.
While I am not too struck on the following songs, I See Houses makes the hair on my arms stand. The beautifully constructed song features possibly what I would call the best features of The Verve as musical talent as the calming attitudes in the song are really expressed in a beautiful manor.
The hour-long album finishes Appalachian Springs, what sounds like a struggle and feels traumatic. An album worthy of five-star rating and possibly a home in the best ever released albums worldwide is a classic Verve album that’s different enough to stand out.