Most millennials will remember ‘Bittersweet Symphony’ as one of the best rock songs they heard going into the close of the century and its video as one of the most memorable (if you ever wake up in one of those ‘me against the world’ moods, watch it and you’ll feel better). The band behind it was The Verve, a five-man outfit from Greater Manchester that popularized a distinctively British brand of psychedelic rock in much the same way Oasis and The Beatles did. And unfortunately, like these two bands, The Verve endured a lot of infighting that led to its final breakup in 2009, just shy of their 20th anniversary. Even before the band split for good Richard Ashcroft, its lead singer and one of its founding members, had released three solo albums. The most successful of these was ‘Alone With Everybody’, the first of them.
Ashcroft’s latest solo project is ‘These People’ which he debuted in May this year and though it burnishes his credentials as an artist in his own right, there are many Verve throwback moments tucked away in the ten songs. One of them is ‘This Is How It Feels’, another is ‘They Don’t Own Me’, the track which follows it on the album. There is a thin country veneer, pasted on by lazy acoustic guitar strumming and a moaning steel guitar, but the calming strings and familiar vocals give the feeling of a classic Verve tune. Even the message of the song has that rebellious edge that defined the defunct Wigan outfit’s music. In the video Ashcroft celebrates his freedom with a long, aimless bike ride through lush countryside accompanied only by his guitar. Enjoy this collection of gorgeous shots, and pick up These People while you’re at it.
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