The Verve "The Thaw Sessions"

The Verve 'The Thaw Sessions'
Ever since the Pixies essentially shook up the confines of indie or alternative, whatever, and gave the world its first official "cool” reunion (let’s face it, it feels like they were the ones to basically patent the idea as of late), it’s as if an epidemic has struck the music industry. With the recent Zeppelin hysteria causing a ruckus, it’s a pleasure to see a band that actually look like their old selves return for what can actually be a fruitful second lifetime. Actually, let’s make that fourth lifetime, since they’ve broken up three times already. The return of the Verve began with the announcement that they’d be playing some gigs together. Exciting, yes, but no one realistically expected to hear music within a couple of months, or even a year. But here we are, sitting here with a 14-minute jam session courtesy of the NME that was offered up by Mad Dick and the boys for our listening pleasure. First thing’s first, "The Thaw Sessions” demonstrates what sort of direction they’ll be taking and it’s exciting, no it’s outstanding, to hear that it’s situated somewhere between debut single "All in the Mind” and their seminal 1995 album, A Northern Soul. Fear ran high for me that they’d settle back into the AOR direction of their most successful album, 1997’s Urban Hymns, but it appears they actually realise where they’re strongest — and that’s in the hands of guitarist Nick McCabe’s hypnotic wizardry, which gently weaves a dreamlike pattern filled with little flourishes of pedal brilliance. But it’s actually the duo of drummer Peter Salisbury and bassist Simon Jones that step up into the spotlight, carrying a heavy rhythm that not only supports the song entirely, but also delivers a pretty killer groove. As for Ashcroft? Well, you can really hear his keyboards in the mix (either that or McCabe’s board is all over the place), and vocally, he’s back in the same frame of mind that blew our minds back when he was waxing psychedelia with songs like "A Man Called Sun” or "The Sun, The Sea.” Sure, it’s basically an improv jam session, but what makes this so noteworthy is that it will no doubt in my mind lead to something both enterprising and yes, mind-blowing.

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The easy option: Download "The Thaw Sessions"