The Verve

This Is Music

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On A Northern Soul's first single, the Verve trade in the heavily reverbed psychedelic rock of their earlier works for the sound of an unadorned Marshall stack turned up to ten. The Stooges-esque growl of "This Is Music" and "Let the Damage Begin" are still as big as the ocean, but it's the sound of the waves crashing down around one's head. Nick McCabe unleashes vicious and urgent blues over the muscular rhythm section of Peter Salisbury and Simon Jones. Stripped of effects, Richard Ashcroft uses his voice in a way not heard since "All in the Mind," alternately preaching and pleading his lyrics of redemption and sexual depravity. The last B-side, the acoustic "You and Me," offers a reprieve from the buzzing guitars and heavy beats of the preceding tracks, but it's only an average offering from the Verve.

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