Monday, September 08, 2008

The Verve: Forth
(On Your Own records)
release: August 26, 2008
style: The Verve
similar: The Verve
[rating: **1/2] The Verve--who, like Radiohead, doesn't need a big record label anymore--could do no wrong up through Urban Hymns. One of the two new songs revealed on the past tour set a possible new direction while retaining the group's unique electricity. The album cover of Forth is perfect and so is the label name ("On Your Own" is a song from Northern Soul). As one of the most anticipated releases this year arriving 10 years after their break-up, Forth--comprised of ten lengthy tracks--is unable to match up to the psychedelia of Storm in Heaven and Northern Soul or the mainstream breakthrough of Hymns. A couple of great new songs from the Verve is better than nothing. But at what cost, people? At what cost?

1- "Sit and Wonder" - more guitar from Nick McCabe than most of Hymns and the straightforwardness of the song meets the requirements to have been on that record. Good sign so far.
2- "Love is Noise" - there was excitement in hearing the new material at the show with this one. But the rest of the album fails to follow its natural flow. The looped vocal hooks and steady groove from bassist Simon Jones and drummer Peter Salisbury works perfectly with the refrain "love is noise, love is pain, love is these blues that I'm singing again". YES! And we can actually dance to this too, like we dance to the remix of London Suede's "Everything Will Flow."
3- "Rather Be" - Though it abrubtly slows the pace, the low octave piano, gospel vocals and guitar effects are welcome.
4-5-6- "Judas," "Numbness," "I See Houses" - Ugh. It's not a problem that it's slow. The Verve have done great things with slow tempos. But these three drag. The worst part is that McCabe sounds held back, as there are no good riffs and just average interludes. You're killing me.
7- "Noise Epic" - no focus on guitar and doesn't live up to title. Noisy at end. Epic? no. What a mess.
8- "Valium Skies" - finally! The lullaby pace and rich, flowing vocals are as good as the b-sides from Hymns. And yes, that is saying a lot. Those b-sides were superb. i see a disco ball and slow dancing.
9- "Columbo" - Peter Falk? no. average psychedelia.
10- "Appalachian Springs" - slow again, with acoustic guitar and ala Hymns' "Weeping Willow."

Now to sit and wonder. - Kenyon

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