Music: RPA and United Nations of Sound * *
The United Nations of Sound
It is 13 years since The Verve released one of the late 90s' defining albums, Urban Hymns, and since then frontman Richard Ashcroft has been on a downward spiral.
Much like his friends in Oasis, he had struggled to emulate past glories, content instead to parody his own music.
This album -- which sees him join forces with a new band -- shows that the chances of his arresting the decline look more remote as each year goes by.
This is sub-Rolling Stones, sub-Oasis fare with stadium ambitions. Ashcroft's voice is as distinctive as ever, but his words are hollow. Where once he could deliver poetry set to compelling music, now he's content issuing risible waffle about the big questions. It pushes for a profundity that's never matched.
'Life' is everywhere, especially in the song titles. Life Can Be So Beautiful, This Thing Called Life and then there are lyrics so naff it almost beggars belief. "The universal language/ This is music /Are you tuning in?" he asks on America.
Ashcroft is a man who's dining out on the glories of his past although he enjoys salvation of sorts with the cracking Beatitudes.
Burn it: Beatitudes