The Verve "Love Is Noise"

The Verve "Love Is Noise"
What a difference eight months makes. Back in October, almost to this day (October 23 to be precise), in this here column I previewed the first evidence of the Verve's mighty comeback. A 14-minute-plus jam, "The Thaw Sessions" as the band called it, was a fluid stream of psychedelia that touched on everything I loved about the band. Of course, what exactly I "loved" was the band throwing back to their halcyon days, when they ate LSD for breakfast (oh, likely in the pancake batter or oatmeal) and tripped out on guitarist Nick McCabe's endless guitar passages, Simon Jones's groove-bending bass lines, Peter Salisbury's freeform rhythms and Richard "Mad Dick" Ashcroft's life-affirming prose. Everyone was trippin' balls when the Verve were actually just Verve.

Of course, I had to end that day's entry with the words: "...it will no doubt lead to something both enterprising and yes, mind-blowing." And so we have it, the first studio recorded example from the Verve's upcoming fourth LP proper, appropriately titled, Forth, which is now set to drop on August 19 through the band's own imprint Our Our Own (nice) via EMI.

First single "Love Is Noise" didn't blow me away last month when I caught their only Canadian date at the Ricoh Coliseum in Toronto. And sadly, hearing the finished product right from the studio does just as little as it did hearing the song live. There is next to no trace of the band’s raw, spirited virtuosity heard in "The Thaw Sessions.” In fact, "Love Is Noise” is as far from that as it gets.

Like it was penned purely for commercial value, the "Verve” sound like their backing up another one of Ashcroft’s bland solo efforts. For me, the Verve were always as much, if not more about hearing what McCabe could come up with on his guitar and pedal board (hence my dissatisfaction with Urban Hymns), but he’s virtually absent throughout the single’s entirety. Instead, what he gives us is a hushed Edge riff over top an awkward modern rock beat lifted from the Killers and bizarre alien soul back-ups, which Ashcroft uses as a cue to wax metaphorical about his favourite subject: love.

Before the Toronto gig in May, Eye Weekly spoke with bassist Simon Jones who said this about the forthcoming Four: "I think this new one’s the best record we’ve ever made. It’s the most true representation of what the Verve’s music is about: it’s got a great balance of songs, jams, experimental things. The hardcore Verve fan will be very satisfied.”

Well this hardcore Verve fan isn’t satisfied with the first track, and I’m now beginning to think this will no doubt lead to something far from enterprising and yes, mind-blowing.

The Verve "Love Is Noise”