The first new material by The Verve in 11 years. Where the band’s previous album, ‘Urban Hymns’, was all confident swagger and orchestral celebration of rock culture, ‘Forth’ is a more withdrawn affair.
‘Urban Hymns’ was the ambitious and opinionated firework that rang out the Britpop era in 1997. ‘Forth’ is the comeback album for The Verve which reformed only last year after a lengthy hiatus. Was it worth the wait?
Yes and no. Yes, if you like mellow 90’s Rock with a touch of Ambient. No, if you were expecting something a bit more fresh.
‘Forth’ is certainly more focused than Verve frontman Richard Ashcroft’s solo output. Working with the full band once again, Ashcroft’s laid back vocals benefit from the groove laid down by The Verve. But where ‘Urban Hymns’ entered the dancefloor in full stride, ‘Forth’ is largely content to skirt around it. Only once, on ‘Columbo’, does the band let rip and invite some booties onto the floor.
‘Sit And Wonder’ and ‘Rather Be’ are classic Verve rockers. ‘Love Is Noise’ plays with some Housey backing vocals. A good few tracks feature very Ambient guitar work, such as ‘Judas’ and ‘Valium Skies’.
The Verve have always been an unhurried band that builds hypnotic themes based on repetition of a few riffs. No song clocks in under 4:30 minutes and 6 minutes is roughly the average length of the tracks on ‘Forth’.
What I am missing on ‘Forth’ are the hooks that gave The Verve’s trippy brand of rock a climax. Instead, tracks build and build without a release. While ‘Forth’ is pleasant to listen to, it leaves me somewhat unsatisfied.
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