The Verve played a blinder at Oxegen this year (promise we'll get a live report soon) and its on the crest of this magnificent wave that they release a new album "Forth". Featuring the standout anthem "Love Is Noise", its fair to say this one was quite highly anticipated.
What a pity then that "Forth" trudges through enough shite you'd think it was Charlie Dimmock. You see what most people fail to remember is that the best album by The Verve is their greatest hits. Apart from the stunning singles they put out in the nineties, The Verve are truthfully just an average band. They are also painfully dull.
"Forth" doesnt buck the trend. Dont get me wrong, I really like the new single "Love Is Noise" with its pounding beat and unusual hook and I think the opening track "Sit And Wonder" has a smouldering Jim Morrison vibe to it that works really well but for the most part the album just drags itself along, going through the motions. There is a spaced-out stoner gloss on the songs that tries its best to remove the band's association with football terrace anthems. They've decided to leave that to The Fratellis it would seem (Editor's Note: The Fratellis latest album is actually really good!).
All in all its a rather bland and boring return from Richard Ashcroft and his not-so-merry men. I can really only see the huge fans (or the extremely stoned) enjoying this album or even listening to it more than once.
To quote track 5, "I See Houses": "I get the feeling I've been here before..."
For the iPod playlist: "Sit And Wonder", "Love Is Noise".
Verdict: ** (2/5)