02 July 2008

NME sneak peak

The Verve have completed recording their comeback album - and have given NME an exclusive listen before they've even finalized the tracklisting.

The band recorded 12 new songs in Richmond, southwest London, and having mixed the album, Richard Ashcroft and co are now deciding on a running order of 10 songs. Here are just a few of the stand-out tracks which we listened to last week.

'Sit And Wonder' and 'Love Is Noise', both of which the band have played live since reuniting, are included. The former is a much tougher proposition than the fledgling effort the group performed last year. The latter, which stunned festival-goers at Coachella in March with its high-energy dance vibe, will be the bands' comeback single.

The other new songs find The Verve mixing Ashcroft's structured 'Urban Hymns' balladry with freeform sonic storms inspired by Nick McCabe's guitar.

'Rather Be' is a piano-led track about redemption, brought to life by ambient guitars, Ashcroft's croon on the mellow 'Valium Skies' provides a lighter-in-the-air moment and 'Mona Lisa' is The Verve's most conventional song ever - a glam-rock stomper not unlike Slade's 'Cum On Feel The Noize'.

However, the album also regenerates their pre-1995 space-rock jams like 1992's 'Gravity Grave'. 'Mama Soul' boasts a classic old-school Verve groove, over which the atmospheric guitars and Ashcroft's vocals intertwine hypnotically. 'Noise Epic' is an ever-growing wall of static, held together by a 'Day Tripper'-esque bass riff. 'Numbness', meanwhile, sees the band melding trademark raw emotions with a spiraling, bluesy jam.

Other tracks that are in contention for the album, due out in August, include 'Judas', 'Appalachian Springs' and 'Columbo'.

Source: NME, 28 June 2008