Richard Ashcroft – These People
Righteous Phonographic Association
01. Out Of My Body
02. This Is How It Feels
03. They Don’t Own Me
04. Hold On
05. These People
06. Everybody Needs Somebody To Hurt
07. Picture Of You
08. Black Lines
09. Ain’t The Future So Bright
10. Songs Of Experience
Richard Ashcroft returns to the music scene after 6 years away with a brand new album ‘These People’. The former Verve frontman stated that the return after the hiatus is simply all down to the fact that the album was finished.
The album is what you expect from Ashcroft, well crafted songs with wicked melodies fused with his signature acoustic guitars and orchestral backdrops but now with added electronics to bolster and fill out the spaces whilst managing to keep it all from cluttering up the experience.
‘These People’ is a very solid offering however it seems to fall flat towards the end of the album after such a strong start.
Opening track ‘Out Of My Body’ completely caught me off guard with his dance beat and pumping electronics, although it has all the signature Ashcroft traits the music is so well crafted that it sounds like his has simply added his vocals over someone else track, I believe that shows a lot of talent for someone that doesn’t normal do electronic music.
‘This Is How It Feels’ & ‘Hold On’ both saw the light of day before the album was released and are solid typical Ashcroft singles, however ‘This Is How It Feels’ sounds like its slightly out of tempo with what it should be whereas ‘Hold On’ is a real ear worm of a song.
Between both ‘This Is How It Feels’ & ‘Hold On’ is the first real stand out track for me in ‘They Don’t Own Me’. The slide guitar gives it a real country feel in Ashcroft’s signature sound. It sounds slightly like a Verve song than anything else in his solo career. This is by far my favourite track on this album.
The title track of the album closes out the first half of the album and starts in a way that anyone with any music knowledge or taste could easily ask if its The Verve. This like so many others on this album features audio guitar playing which is something that seems to be lost in the modern era and by a lot of modern artists.
On ‘Everybody Needs Somebody To Hurt’, Ashcroft brings back the electronics but fuses it nicely with a wah-wah like guitar sound. Its a solid start to the second half of the album but it does have the essence of a remix of a Verve song about it.
‘Picture Of You’ takes Ashcroft back to the Acoustic guitar but the gappy vocals and lack of any real destination leaves you uninspired and the song doesn’t really go anywhere, this for me is the worst track on this album.
‘Black Lines’ gets Ashcroft back on track slightly and on a second listen this song is really solid, the unexpected twist at the end of the track is probably the most exciting thing about this song though.
‘Ain’t The Future So Bright’ & ‘Songs Of Experience’ end out the album and whilst ‘Ain’t The Future…’ didn’t really capture me on the first listen it spoke a little more to me the second time around and I found it had actually grown on me in the short time between listens. ‘Songs Of Experience’ is a somewhat lacklustre effort especially for an album closer and much like ‘Picture Of You’ doesn’t seem to really go anywhere however like ‘Ain’t The Future So Bright’ it did sound a little better the second time round.
All in all a solid offering but nowhere near his best (see his 2000 debut ‘Alone With Everybody’) but definitely not his worst (2002’s ‘Human Conditions’). Its the first time in a solo offering that you really hear The Verve in the sound of some of these songs. ‘These People’ starts out really strong but fades a little in the second half, however I liked all the songs (except ‘Picture Of You’) a little more upon the second listen and feel that in time the low points of the album could easily grown on me the more I listen to it.
STAND OUT TRACKS: Out Of My Body, They Don’t Own Me, Hold On, These People