The Verve Go Forth

Posted by Carlos Gabriel Ruiz on September 26th, 2008

The Verve

The Verve

In 1997, The Verve finally broke through and reached the worldwide success that they had been dreaming of with their third album Urban Hymns. They toured in support of the album for the next year and half and then promptly broke up in 1999 due to internal strife among some of the band members. If that was the end of the story, The Verve would have been known as a great band that released three full length albums with two fabulous EP collections in between the full lengths who broke up in their prime. Now after three distinguished solo albums by Richard Ashcroft, a stellar quasi jam/shoegazer band called The Shining from Simon Jones, touring duty for Black Rebel Motorcycle Club from Pete Salisbury and numerous side projects from Nick McCabe, it seems that even though The Verve have been down many roads, all those roads lead to home.

Newly reformed, the band has just released their latest and fourth album, Forth. In this brave new world for The Verve, they are also releasing the record through their own record label. The first single released and second track on the record, “Love Is Noise” showcases the band at it’s finest: catchy, insightful, philosophical and wholly organic. Without missing a beat, The Verve have announced their intentions for all to hear:
Love is Noise
Love is Pain
Love is the Blues that I’m Singing Again

Following up “Love Is Noise” is the soulful ballad “Rather Be”. Not content to rest on their laurels, The Verve continue to toe the line with shoegazer ballads and psychedelic jams like “Judas”, “Numbness”, and “Columbo”. This time around they throw in a little more soulfulness and melancholy to go with it, as evidenced in songs like “Valium Skies” and “Appalachian Springs”.

For people who have waited over 10 years for this album, 10 songs simply is not enough material. In preparation for the release their were free downloads to some of the b-sides and the 14 minute Thaw Sessions download through NME that showcased the band’s first jamming session since 1999. It’s a shame that more tracks were not included on the album, but their first album A Storm in Heaven only had 10 tracks on it as well, so maybe it is The Verve’s way of resetting the dial and starting over again.

Tellingly, the cover of Forth is a set of clouds with sunlight about to burst through, perhaps meant to invoke A Storm in Heaven. But this picture is not of a storm that would encapsulate the band’s early tumultuous incarnation, but rather the picture shows a cooling, reflective calm in the heavens that suggests a new horizon and a brand new day moving forth. Regardless, The Verve have reunited and this record is only the new beginning.

Grade: A-

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