Artist: The Verve
Genre: Post -rock, Shoegaze, Space Rock, Psychedelic Rock, Brit Pop
Title: A Storm In Heaven (Vernon Yard Recordings)
Label: Hut Records
Musicians: Richard Ashcroft – vocals, bass, guitars, percussion, Nick McCabe – guitars, piano, Peter Salisbury – drums, percussion, Simon Jones – bass, backing vocals,
Additional musicians:Simon Clarke – solo flute, horn arrangements, Kick Horns – trumpets, saxophones, Yvette Lacey – chorus flute, Roddy Lorimer – horn arrangements
Producer: John Leckie
Engineer: John Cornfield
Mix Engineer: John Leckie
The Verve were an English rock band formed in Wigan in 1990 by lead vocalist Richard Ashcroft, guitarist Nick McCabe, bass guitarist Simon Jones and drummer Peter Salisbury. Guitarist and keyboard player Simon Tong became a member at a later date.
Beginning with a psychedelic sound, by the mid-1990s the band had released several EPs and four albums. It also endured name and line-up changes, break-ups, health problems, drug abuse and various lawsuits, you know, the usual stuff. The band’s commercial breakthrough was the 1997 album Urban Hymns, one of the best-selling albums in UK Chart history. Soon after their commercial peak, the Verve broke up in April 1999, citing internal conflicts. The group’s rise was the culmination of a long, arduous journey that began at the dawn of the decade and went on to encompass a major breakup, multiple lawsuits, and an extensive diet of narcotics”. The band’s original line-up reunited in June 2007, embarking on a tour later that year and releasing the album Forth in August 2008, which spawned the hit single “Love Is Noise”. Amid revived tensions, the band broke up for the second time in 2009.
1993’s A Storm in Heaven was the band’s full-length debut, produced by record producer John Leckie (of Simple Minds, Radiohead, The Stone Roses, XTC and The Fall fame). During this period the band played a number of gigs with Oasis who, at the time, were relatively unknown. The band then played on the travelling U.S. alternative rock festival, Lollapalooza, in the summer of 1994. The tour became notorious for the events of 11 July – Ashcroft was hospitalised for dehydration after a massive session of drinking and Salisbury was arrested for destroying a hotel room in Kansas in a drug-fuelled delirium. However, the band were performing again the very next day. Ashcroft later recalled: “At the start, it was an adventure, but America nearly killed us.”
You can read more here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Verve
A Storm in Heaven originated during the band’s four-week stay outside of Llandudno, Wales. According to producer John Leckie, the band worked until “4 a.m. every night…they were quite a nocturnal band…they didn’t get much sleep. They smoked a lot of dope.” Drummer Pete Salisbury’s percussion was inspired by Dr. John, the Night Tripper’s Gris-Gris album, while the brass section from the Kick Horns on “The Sun, The Sea” and “Butterfly” was influenced by Fun House (The Stooges album). Like the band’s prior EPs and singles, most of the songs on this album are bathed in heavy layers of delay (echo) and reverb, used on both the guitars and the vocals, to give a disorienting psychedelic overall effect.
The problem is that this CD is slightly thin sounding, but more than that , the guitars are clipped in several spots and the vocals get lost occasionally.
1. “Star Sail”- The timing of this tune is similar to Jane’s Addiction only a bit slower. This makes sense seeing that the Verve’s first American gig was at Lallapalooza with Jane’s Addiction. Unfortunately the vocals get lost at points.
2. “Slide Away” – This is one of my favorites on the album. I just like the structure and the lyrics are great.
3. “Already There” – This song sounds almost shoegaze flavored, but with positive lyrics. The energy picks up about half way through with power choruses, but sadly, this song was poorly recorded in my opinion. Guitars are clipped.
4. “Beautiful Mind” – This tune is definitely psychedelic, but a bit over-done on the echo making it hard to follow and the lyrics unintelligible. One of my least favorite tracks.
5. “The Sun, The Sea” – This has the hard rock, Verve sound familiar from the time of Urban Hymns. I like the bridge of this song, not that it is anything special, but just very appropriate in my opinion. Again, the guitars sound clipped here.
6. “Virtual World” – This tune is more post-rock than anything else and more mellow, but the singing is annoying in my opinion and the instrumentation is not notable either.
7. “Make It ‘Til Monday” – This sounds like filler material to me and rather messy.
8. “Blue” – This is a straight psychedelic rock sound with a nice drive to it. Good tune in my opinion.
9. “Butterfly” – To me this song sounds like psychedelic rock meets delta blues. It’s kind of interesting and I’m not sure what to make of it exactly, but I don’t dislike it. The lyrics pertain directly to the so-called butterfly effect.
10. “See You in the Next One (Have a Good Time)” – To me, this is just an OK ballad. The song is built on a subdued piano motif played by McCabe and atmospheric acoustic guitars played by vocalist Richard Ashcroft.
It’s too bad the production on this CD is not that great.
The Sun And The Sea: https://youtu.be/lmeJPGjOqI0