Review: Jack Foley
WHAT is it about some of the greatest bands that places them
on the verge of self-destruction?
Take current band of the moment, The
Libertines, for example, who seem constantly to be on the
verge of a break-up despite being credited as one of the brightest
UK prospects in years.
Or Oasis, who can't
seem to go on tour or put out a new album without some sort of
In the Nineties, it was The Verve who, arguably, became the band
to set the standards - outshining Oasis when they supported them
during their Earl's Court dates, and generally winning mountains
Then, of course, they split. Richard Ashcroft went solo. And
now it's up the record company to put out nostalgia-laced best
of compilations, that seek to celebrate what we knew already -
that The Verve were great.
This Is Music: The Singles 92-98 consists of singles
released from their three albums - A Storm In Heaven, A Northern
Soul and Urban Hymns - as well as various EPs, B-sides
and two unreleased tracks (in the form of This Could Be My
Moment and Monte Carlo.
And it makes for a dazzling showcase of their songwriting talents,
packed with memorable guitar riffs and those haunting, borderline
melancholic vocals of Ashcroft's which never sounded as good,
or as strong, in solo form.
Predominant among the tracks, of course, are the likes of Bitter
Sweet Symphony (probably their biggest and most enduring
single), as well as the ballads, The Drugs Don't Work
and Sonnet, taken from the Urban Hymns long-player
which, in itself, marked something of a comeback for them.
But strong, too, are the likes of indie guitar anthems All
In The Mind, Slide Away and Gravity Grave, which
finds The Verve at their moody, commanding best.
Of the two previously unreleased tracks, This Could Be My
Moment (recorded during the Urban Hymns sessions)
is a gloriously upbeat anthem, that shows The Verve were capable
of delivering some genuinely catchy records.
Monte Carlo (from the Northern Soul era) is
slightly more atmospheric, finishing off the compilation on the
same sort of no-nonsense note as album opener, This Is Music.
In short, a definitive collection and one which any fan is sure
1. This Is Music
2. Slide Away
3. Lucky Man
5. She’s A Superstar
6. On Your Own
9. All In The Mind
10. The Drugs Don’t Work
11. Gravity Grave
12. Bittersweet Symphony
13. This Could Be My Moment (Previously Unreleased)
14. Monte Carlo (Previously Unreleased)