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The ShortListen: Richard Ashcroft (no. 258)

Who? Richard Ashcroft

What’s the story? Richard Ashcroft will forever be a musical icon, given the quality of his work with The Verve - both the classic era around 1997's still-incredible Urban Hyms and the much-better-than-could-have-been-expected 'third coming' in 2008 - but this newly-announced solo comeback is something of a crunch moment for his continued relevance in the musical world. 2010's United Nations of Sound album was a criticial and commercial disappointment and six years have passed for Ashcroft to have a rethink. The first taste of new album These People, due 20 May, is this track This Is How It Feels, and it's definitely a return to familiar pastures, with strings and orchestrations from Urban Hymns man Wil Malone, a straightforward chord sequence, strummed out on an acoustic before expanding out, and Ashcroft's undeniable, always-sincere vocals. It feels like it's missing a chorus and never quite builds up to be as big as it threatens, but it's a joy to hear those vocals again and the whole thing is warmly enjoyable. His mission statement for the album is big - "we’re in a very nihilistic age, we’re in death-ridden, world war times and I like to reflect the society we’re in but I also wanna possibly project something that gives us a sense of hope" - so let's see what else he has to say on the tracks to come.

For fans of: The Verve

In three words: Classic Ashcroft comeback

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Listen to all of them as they become available, on this Spotify Playlist

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