The Verve

Blue

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For the American release of Verve's brilliant debut LP, A Storm in Heaven, faux-indie Vernon Yard took the unusual step of commissioning a so-called "U.S.A. Mix" for the disc's lead single, "Blue." Minus several layers of psychedelic sheen, the song seems much more conventional and much less epic in this incarnation, essentially undermining a large part of what made the band's widescreen sound so impressive. The three remaining songs comprising this promotional release, all of them previously found on the British Slide Away single, fare far better -- in particular, the eerily beautiful "6 O'Clock" captures Verve at their most spaciously atmospheric, spotlighting Nick McCabe's finely textured guitar. Acoustic readings of the LP cuts "Make It Till Monday" and "Virtual World" round out the set, proving Richard Ashcroft's songs effective and affecting even in small-scale settings.

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