You can ask Charles if you don’t believe me, but I remember a time early in their career when The Verve couldn’t get folks in the States to sit up and pay attention. Of course, this song and a couple of royalty checks to the Stones changed all that. But in their prime, with the hits or without them, the band was unmatched in their neo-psychedelia & shoegazing brilliance. 1997’s Urban Hymns may have rocked the hits, but the band’s first two albums were bathed in layers of reverbed delay and shimmering guitar playing that at times reached higher than the sun. And of course, that all changed after their big hit; citing internal conflcts the band that was redefining alternative rock at the end of the 90’s would be no more, even after several attempts at a reunion. I still have crystal clear memories of seeing a handful of dates when the band toured on their first album; being completely mesmerized by guitarist Nick McCabe and the sultry charisma of front man Richard Ashcroft.
Would I (like others) just love a Verve reunion? Sure thing. But it ain’t almost never gonna happen. While former Ververs are off and doing various ‘tings, Ashcroft has a new album coming out in the States on March 8th on Razor & Tie called The United Nations Of Sound. Produced by hip-hop/rap producer No I.D.. Despite early negative reviews by some UK critics, it is Ashcroft’s most muscular, confident, soulful and consistent solo record yet (although he should have left song “Life Can Be So Beautiful” on the cutting room floor). And even if it doesn’t get blog or radio or press love (once the record is more closely out in the States), this here little commercial may really be all he needs to re-aggregate again. Finally, is it me or does the cat sound more and more like Neil Diamond? Anyway – here’s a song from the album to download –