12 June 2000

NME reviews "Money To Burn"

Richard Ashcroft Money To Burn (Hut) 

Part two of 2000's most anticipated solo career, from which we can deduce that:

a) Ashcroft still thinks his wife's absolutely brilliant; and
b) he continues to believe - as at The Verve's death - that BJ Cole on pedal steel is absolutely brilliant, too.

'Money To Burn' is a curious single, self-conscious where 'A Song For The Lovers' was euphoric, as he affects an Elvis yodel and his glamorous array of session musicians hesitantly try to recreate one of Spiritualized's space Gospel knees-ups. With loads of pedal steel, obviously. The result is a mess of good ideas that never quite gel, a big celebration of love that feels oddly clinical and unmoving where it should be unhinged and ecstatic. Safer ground is found on track two, 'Leave Me High', where - surfeit of bloody pedal steel notwithstanding - he goes off on one of his higher-than-high tangents (think 'Life's An Ocean' or 'Catching The Butterfly') and the musicians seem to be guided by spirit rather than score. The mountains and rivers of the lyrics are places he's visited many times before, but Ashcroft still does the questing visionary at one with the wilderness routine far better than most, even now.

B-side of the week, quaintly enough.