The Verve – Forth

August 26, 2008

For those worried that the Verve’s first album in eleven years, Forth, is either a cash-in or a futile attempt to recapture past glories, fear not, this collection of ten songs is neither of those. Instead, Forth is a work that can easily stand alongside the best of their work in the 90’s. Picking up where they left off on 1997’s Urban Hymns, Forth immediately draws you in with the cool, soulful neo-psychedelia of “Sit and Wonder,” with forceful lead singer Richard Ashcroft sounding as good as he ever has. The band is working on a large canvas here, combining psychedelia with Britpop and straight ahead rock and roll, frequently allowing themselves to jam out a bit, as on the eight minute plus “Noise Epic,” one of the highlights of the album. At least half the album is taken up by tracks that push past the six or seven minute mark, though this can hardly said to be a record given to meandering. Instead, it’s thrilling, edgy work, with not a wasted minute to be heard. Definitely recommended for longtime Verve fans, but Forth will make a lot of top ten lists at the end of the year no matter how familiar listeners may be with their past records. Standout cuts: “Sit and Wonder,” “Love is Noise,” “Valium Skies” and “Appalachian Springs.”


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