The Verve - Forth (Parlophone)
Lisa Norman | Saturday, 13 September 2008
Back in the days when Britpop consumed music fans everywhere, a group called The Verve came, conquered and rose to the top of the charts, with third offering Urban Hymns gathering fans in their wake. Since that musical outing some ten years ago, the group have finally concocted their fourth release and are back to thrill old fans and regain their Britpop crown.
Many would anticipate something new, but it's not to be. We are faced with very familiar sounding beats. You can imagine many of these songs playing over the football highlights on Match of the Day - anthemic, full of moody drumbeats and guitars.
With a rather dull album title (albeit one that gets to the point), you can't help but feel that you've heard it all before. Opening track 'Sit and Wonder' highlights what your ears are in for; an angst ridden, bluesy type of track that shows Ashcroft's vocals haven't changed a bit. First single release 'Love is Noise' is the football anthem previously mentioned. It's upbeat, rocky and sure to get you singing along, but lacks the superiority the band had last time around.
For a group that was a huge influence on British music in the '90s, this album isn't that inspiring. It's not boring by any means, but it seems to lack that certain something. 'Numbness' does exactly what it says on the tin and numbs your mind completely. No amount of guitar strumming and drum banging will wake you up after that one. Whining vocals placed with moody guitars and slow drums seem to be the norm on this offering.
Some tracks are too long, dragging out something already tedious into something more tiring. 'Judas' reverts back to old territory and comes as a welcome relief. With its dreamy tone, it combines soft guitar licks with Ashcroft's unique strained vocal. 'I See Houses' is also a return to common ground that existing fans will lap up.
It feels like this has been churned out in a hurry, but with such a long gap between and the last release that can't be the case. Sorry guys, but you sounded better in the '90s.