Sunday, July 7, 2013

377 of 1001 Albums: The Verve's A Northern Soul

The Verve has to be one of the biggest bands of the 90s. This album doesn't contain the song you're probably thinking of though, "Bittersweet Symphony." We all loved it, and the vocals are recognizable anywhere, even on this album that was released prior. The band has a staple sound though that would only become stronger on following ones. The very nasal based vocals, the Oasis inspired indie rock sound, and so seem to be something the band was good at crafting to make work for themselves and give them their own distinct sound.

History: The band seemed to have a lot of friction throughout their duration of recording together. This album featured that very divided sound that seems to be happening behind the scenes in the band. From smashed windows, to drug use, the guys sounded like they were living like out of control rock stars. This album does show the progression of the band into the sound that would become their own though from the previous works that you would never even recognize them from. At the time of it's release the reception was better in the US than the UK, though it has become more critically acclaimed in the UK over time.

Vocals: It would be really difficult to not recognize Richard Ashcrofts vocals if you've heard The Verve. You probably have them stuck in your head now as you're reading just from thinking of it. His vocals are strong though, and they really do capture the emotion of the lyrics. Particularly, in On Your Own. While the vocals don't have many variations from song to song it still sounds good, and is pretty staple to their sound.

Instrumentals: Probably my favorite part of the music though is how the instruments are composed. I do like the 90's indie rock vibe. This album is full of that. I think though that the songs do blend a lot. There were times I was listening and several songs had passed without me knowing it. Maybe this is a good thing, but it makes it difficult to remember songs if they've all passed without me realizing it.

Recording: The recording really holds up after the years. This album is over a decade old now, actually nearing twenty in a couple of years, and it still has this sound that translates well over time. I think the emotions voiced in the song fit quite well in today as well. Music has become less happy over time, and this album only seems to be the beginning of that.

The Verve is one of those bands that I've remembered since the 90's, so I was quite excited to get a whole album to check it out. I think this is definitely the beginning of something good. If you want to hear the band sound like this though, and even better than check out their later album in 1997. They still had some work to do, and knew how to clean it up.

Rating 7 of 10.

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