14 June 1997

NME - Single of the Week: Bitter Sweet Symphony

"... Until now, splitting up was the best thing The Verve ever did. There are those who'll tell you their pre-collapse second LP, 'A Northern Soul', is a lost classic. It's not, it's overblown and over-ambitious, big on pomp and low on circumstance. This isn't though. In fact, 'Bitter Sweet Symphony' is hardly even recognizable as The Verve of old.

It's irrepressibly classy for a start, from the moment the strings start jabbing at your soul in the intro, to the full doorbell-bashing climax. This is The Verve as big-league contenders instead of tranced-out losers aimlessly jamming their way into corners. The sound is immense from the word go, the ghost of Jason Pierce oscillating away wildly somewhere in the background, and Richard Ashcroft sounding off about the futility of cradle-to-grave existence like he was the first person to ever think it.

"I'm a million different people from one day to the next," he declares, but this isn't the directionless, schizophrenic freakshow that gurned for the whole of Glastonbury back in '93. This sounds like the work of unbeatables, people who've been through all the madness they can take and come out of the other side stronger than ever."
  • Source: NME