Is it a well-known fact that Mr Ashcroft has now released as many albums in the solo form as he had done with The Verve? Well, it is hard to believe that this is now his 4th solo release. But, the man has once again managed to put together a great effort. There is a certain vibe in this album which some British groups have done and that is taking a more electronic vibe to go through the album. Coldplay’s had a few albums which weren’t far dissimilar to this one. While I may make a comparison, it does still have that Ashcroft sound to it.
Starting off the album is ‘Out Of My Body’, this is where I immediately just went “this sounds like Coldplay”. But, Chris Martin has always had praise for Richard Ashcroft and his music. So, who inspired who really? Anyway, the album really kicks off when we get to ‘This Is How It Feels’ and I feel we already have another classic on our hands. If I could describe it, I would say it has that same impact as ‘A Song For The Lovers’ when that first hit in 2000. ‘They Don’t Own Me’ and ‘Hold On’ continue the album at a steady pace, and is fairly easy listening. Title track ‘These People’ is another stand out. Could I be wrong in saying this is a swipe at the critics? With lines like “These People, sent to test us. Sent to play with our minds”, I think it is. But, Richard Ashcroft has always been someone for the fans. Not the critics.
‘Everybody Needs Somebody To Hurt’ is an obvious play on the Solomon Burke hit where he talks about love instead of hate (if unsure, remember that really awesome sing-a-long song from The Blues Brothers). It has a good rhythm to it, but the more stripped back ‘Picture Of You’ really gets into your head and demands a repeat play. Let’s just hope this makes the set-list for the shows in December! ‘Black Lines’ is definitely another one which needs to be on the live shows, and its one for while your lighter or mobile torch is in the air swaying back and forth. This will hopefully generate some heat in the December gigs! ‘Ain’t The Future So Bright’ is out before we know it and the conclusion ‘Songs Of Experience’ brings a very Richard Ashcroft conclusion to a great body of work. The final song I think works better after a few listens, it is a grower and one I am sure Richard is proud of.
This whole album is almost a safe bet, there is nothing that really goes above and beyond the usual standard that Ashcroft produces. But is that a bad thing? No. We know Richard Ashcroft can craft some great compositions and this is no exception. Where a few tracks may seem throwaway, a majority of them will grab your attention. Some songs really make a big effort and there is at least half of this album I want to experience in London in December. In the same vein of Morrissey, Paul Weller and Sting, Richard Ashcroft proves to be as enticing as a solo artist as he ever was in The Verve. To hear this mixed with his other solo work and music from his former band, I am sure these tracks will become more popular as time goes on. Another fantastic release!
Final Rating: 8.5/10
Written by Jonjo Cosgrove