Richard Ashcroft

With his third release as a solo artist, former The Verve ("Bittersweet Symphony") lead vocalist Richard Ashcroft presents us with an album that sounds like he had been listening to Motown music while writing some of it. It is not a complete departure from his usual alternative-indie sound, but there is definitely something different and boppy on the opening track ("Why Not Nothing"). His distinctive nasally voice is still accompanied by some of the most intelligent lyrics in rock music and catchy melodies. In the accompanying liner notes it is written "Music is power" and Ashcroft's lyrics demonstrate how powerful the written (or sung) word can be. After the opening track, most of the album consists of mid-tempo songs or ballads, which might be too alike sounding for some people. As usual, his music deals with the heavier issues in life, but they say that sadness tends to lead to the best art. Richard Ashcroft is an artist in the truest sense of the word and one of the better ones coming out of England today.

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