Single Review by Mark Bayross
It must be confusing being Richard Ashcroft. One minute you are fronting moderately successful indie chancers Verve, peddling shoegazing psychedelia to Ride fans around the country, the next, your band’s name has acquired a “The” and, having realised one of the most gloriously beautiful songs of the decade (HISTORY), your band implodes and breaks up.
Almost as unexpectedly, you reunite, effortlessly pen a couple of timeless anthems (THE DRUGS DON’T WORK and the epic BITTERSWEET SYMPHONY) and it’s like you’ve never been gone. Now, believe it or not, The Verve have split once again, and just so we know that this time it’s for good, honest, Richard Ashcroft has embarked on a solo career.
A SONG FOR THE LOVERS is just as infectious as BITTERSWEET SYMPHONY, incorporating the lush strings and epic grandeur we have come to expect from Ashcroft. His vocals still have that combination of stoned drawl and scaly menace, although the saxophone gives the song more of an MOR feel. Still, you can’t deny the man’s ability to craft a “big” sound.
Also on the single are the mellower, twangy (COULD BE) A COUNTRY THING, CITY THING, BLUES THING, which sees Ashcroft in full Stetson-wearing mode, and the rootsier and slightly psychedelic PRECIOUS STONE.
Obviously this song is going to be a hit. Ashcroft has shown us that he can be taken seriously as a songwriter on his own, and the inevitable success of his forthcoming album should be enough to keep him happy till he decides to get The Verve back together one last time…