This is The Verve’s second album, and despite the difficulties that the band had internally, this is a really good album to listen to. It shows an array of fine musicianship. Let’s listen to it and see how this sounds as good as it does.
We kick off with A New Decade which slowly fades in with awesome guitars, drums and harmonies. Before long, this gets underway and this is a very addictive and wonderful listen. Richard Ashcroft sounds so optimistic here, and the lyrics here are really visionary. The whole thing is marvellous and the band put in 100% here. There is a more subdued section in the second half, where Richard Ashcroft sings beautifully. A top track to begin this album with.
Next is This Is Music comes next, beginning with some distorted guitars and excellent melodies. Yet another great song by The Verve, this is an awesome piece. Everything sounds top here, from Richard Ashcroft’s singing to distorted guitar and bass guitar, and a rhythm section to boot. Richard Ashcroft comes across as a poet and visionary, and the songs here are really top. A mixture of vocals and swirling sounds make this an essential listen. Brilliant.
On Your Own begins with acoustic guitar with drums and Richard Ashcroft singing deeply over it. Richard Ashcroft in particular comes across as a force of vocal lyricism, unlike anyone else. This is a rather melancholy piece but is just as good as what came before it. It sounds really top, and the second half has some excellent singing and piano here. Nice.
So It Goes is next, with its excellent guitar intro and laid back drum beat, before Richard Ashcroft joins in. This is a great sounding piece that is really enjoyable. It has a wonderful sound, particularly in the guitar work. Sounding like something perfect for a road trip, this is really cool. It is over six minutes long, so strap yourself in and listen. In the middle section is a quiet sort of breakdown with various instrumentation flowing in and out. It is a really great, soul searching sort of listen. A fantastic and powerful musical statement is here. Beautiful and majestic. The chanting towards the end is very good, too. A piano is here, and this whole song gradually fades out at the end.
Next is the title track A Northern Soul which begins with loud fuzzy wah-wah guitar, before the rest of the band slowly come in. This sounds really amazing, and brilliant. A brilliant and epic listen, this is really fantastic and the lyrics here are really well done, better than most other bands in that sense. Musically, the fuzz wah-wah guitar drives the whole piece, but the rest of the band do well here, too. An incredibly powerful and interesting musical statement by The Verve. An excellent song and lyrical piece. The sounds here are very wonderful and unique, and this sounds like it could have influenced Coldplay somehow. Top-notch.
Following is Brainstorm Interlude which has some odd guitar playing at the start here. After a little bit, the rest of the band kick start this song. It’s a very Psychedelic sounding piece that sounds surreal. There is a decent drumming and rhythm section here, which sounds like it influenced Radiohead’s Airbag. An energetic and uplifting listen classic by The Verve here. Enjoyable listening, as is the rest of the album. Wonderful and beautiful music here. A great listen from start to finish.
Drive You Home starts off sounding like a totally chilled tune. Richard Ashcroft wears his heart on his sleeve here lyrically. To support him are the other members of The Verve here, especially the guitar work here. This is a slow, spaced out and relaxing piece to enjoy. The midsection has some excellent melodic bass guitar and guitar work as well. This whole piece is a great and soothing listen, as music should be. Extraordinarily good, as is the rest of this album. An awesome sonic journey. Nice.
History begins with a lovely string section and strummed acoustic guitar. This is a great song by the group and Richard Ashcroft puts in 100% lyrically and vocally. The rest of the band do just as well here, and the string section here is really lovely and beautiful. A grand and wonderful sounding song, this is another excellent piece of music that is superb in every way. A great and symphonic piece of music. Majestic and beautiful. A must listen.
Following is No Knock On My Door which is different, beginning with loud guitars. Before long, the rest of The Verve kick into again. This is a more typical piece of music from The Verve, being a bit rawer and rocking. Still, it is another fine listen by The Verve and although Richard Ashcroft’s vocals could be mixed a bit higher here, it is another brilliant track. A surreal sounding and uplifting emotional ride, The Verve do extremely well here. Another great song by them, the outro is really interesting too, with some expert melodies and loud drum beats. Brilliant.
After that is Life’s An Ocean which begins with a loud bass guitar groove before the rest of the band gradually kick in. Along with Oasis, The Verve here show themselves to be one of the greatest British Rock groups of the 1990s. Some interesting lyrics by Richard Ashcroft are here, and this part of the song demands attention, singing about the future of the human race. A really fantastic listening experience, this is extraordinarily good. “Life’s an ocean, too much commotion, not enough emotion, to satisfy me,” is sung by Richard Ashcroft here, before kicking into a mainly instrumental second half of this song. The outro here is rather ghostly as it fades out.
Stormy Clouds comes next, with its lengthy intro that is interesting and rewarding. Richard Ashcroft gets singing, and we hear another great piece of music by The Verve. It has more subdued guitar work here and a quieter feel to this song than other songs before it. Still, it is another really excellent and rewarding listening experience by The Verve. This whole piece sounds really great, although is a little eerie. Still, good to hear. Richard Ashcroft chants about a new horizon towards the end of this song. Really top music here.
(Reprise) is the last number here on this album, and is over six minutes long. It kicks off with unique guitar and bass guitar parts. The guitars here build up to a very good melodic piece, with a load of delay and overdrive on it as well. This is a good piece to listen to and just sounds really fresh and amazing. It’s not really a song in this piece but still sounds very good regardless. Feedback and other digital sound effects make this instrumental a winner. A great quality listen, paving the way for Urban Hymns. The sounds here are unreal, in a good way of course.
This album is a fantastic listen from start to finish. It is a really fine representation of what The Verve were about. Not even their best album, yet The Verve made a solid gold classic here. Seek out this album today, you will not be disappointed. Fans of The Verve should check out the Deluxe Remastered versions of this album, with loads of extra goodies, including extra songs that the band really should have included on this album. Nonetheless, a fine album of music.