Richard Ashcroft A Song For The Lovers

Well, one thing's for certain - Richard Ashcroft still carries the soul of the Verve. Here we have three brand new tracks that prove he is one of the most talented members of the British music industry machine. "A Song For The Lovers" is a great epic track, and the B-side "(Could Be A) Country Thing, City Thing, Blues Thing," is akin to "Velvet Morning," the outstanding and under-appreciated anthem from the last Verve album, Urban Hymns. The presence of slide guitar has always been a welcome accompaniment to Ashcroft's style of songwriting. There's real emotion in his music and it appears that he needed to be on his own to get things done his way. Ashcroft smartly gives us exactly what we would have wanted had his former band managed to keep it together: tracks that pull together rock with a groove and throw in a little country for kicks. Amazingly, you hardly notice the loss of his band-mates - especially Nick McCabe, the guitarist extraordinaire who made the Verve sound so damn good. Ashcroft's music will ultimately suffer from this loss, but it is still a sign of good things to come when we finally see his completed full-length solo album. (Virgin)