Verve – A Storm In Heaven (Vernon Yard Recordings)

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:

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:

dada – Puzzle

Artist: dada
Genre: Rock, Alternative Rock
Title: Puzzle
Released: 1992
Label: IRS
Format: CD
Musicians: Joie Calio-vocals, bass, guitar, percussion, Michael Gurley-vocals, lead & rhythm guitar, keyboards, Phil Leavitt-drums, percussion, vocals
Producer: Ken Scott & dada
Engineer:Ken Scott & Eddie Ashworth, Steve Cormier
Mastering Engineer: Stephen Marcussen

I think these 3-piece band and a band called The Posies were around at the same time as it seems like they influenced each other.
As mentioned, Dada is a three piece rock band from California. The band’s songs feature both Michael and Joie sharing the vocals on each song. The group write highly melodic, harmony laden tunes.
1992 saw the release of their debut album Puzzle. First single “Dizz Knee Land” quickly became a staple of radio across the U.S.  Continue reading

Forever Changing Compilation CD

Artist: Various
Genre: Indie and Alternative Rock
Title: Forever Changing
Label: Beechwood Music

Ok, you know by now that I like compilation albums and such and it doesn’t matter if it is vinyl or CD. This particular one I picked up used for next to nothing and it is a French import. What difference that makes in CDs, I don’t know.
Anyway, this is a compilation disc of bands (mostly from the UK) from the 1990s. There is some great music on here composed of Brit pop, psychedelic, indie.

1 –Blur: I Know (Extended) – Straight up 90s Brit pop and a generous helping too. Good groove to this one. This song is not from any Blur LP, it appears to have been done for this CD. That is not uncommon, other artists have made songs exclusively for compilations.
2 –The Real People: Open Up Your Mind (Let Me In) -The Real People are an English rock band formed in Liverpool in 1988.
3 –World Of Twist: Sons Of The Stage – World of Twist were an English indie pop band, formed in Sheffield in 1985.
4 –The Impossibles: Delphis – UK electronic downtempo act of the early 1990s. This is one of my favorites of the CD and female vocals get me every time.
5 –Swirl: Helicopter – Swirl were a Sydney, Australia-based indie rock band, forming around 1990 and breaking up in 2002.
6 –Poppy Factory: 7 x 7- The Poppy Factory were a band from Bradford, England, signed to Chrysalis Records. This is my least favorite on the CD
7 –Ocean Colour Scene: Yesterday Today – Ocean Colour Scene (often abbreviated to OCS) are an English rock band formed in Moseley, Birmingham, in 1989. This is another example like Blur above where the song was created for the compilation.
8 –The Hollow Men: Pantera Rosa – The Hollow Men were a British indie band from Leeds, England. The group named itself after the poem by T. S. Eliot.
9 –The High: Take Your Time – The High are an English rock group from Manchester, who combine the late 60’s style pop and psyche guitar sound. Another favorite of mine – the track just has that sound, if you know what I mean.
10 –Ever: Really Tired – There is no info on these guys, but it is like the previous track, just has that sound.
11 –Rain: Lemonstone Desired – No, not the Beatles tribute band (though I must mention that Rain tribute band is one of the very best). This Rain were an alternative rock band from Liverpool, England, who had a minor hit in 1991 with “Lemonstone Desired”.
12 –The Clouds: Set Free To Be Me – I’m not sure if this is the band from Australia or not. The Australian band has female vocalists, but this could be an outtake. At any rate it is another favorite of mine. This tune is almost a mix of psychedelic and goth if there is such a mix?


The Impossibles – Delphis:

The Clouds – Set Free To Be Me