Richard Ashcroft & The United Nations Of Sound
Richard Ashcroft, he’s been there, done that. Over four albums with The Verve and three solo albums, he’s mastered a particular, personal, communal brand of rock’n’soul. From History to Bitter Sweet Symphony to Love Is Noise, he’s the man for a big tune with an intimate sentiment.
This year, Ashcroft is coming back again. Not that he ever went away; he’s always writing/recording/playing music, whether in the public eye or not. But two years after The Verve’s reunion for Forth and a brace of epic shows (Glastonbury anyone?), Ashcroft is coming back – blazing back – with a new band, a new album and a new outlook.
‘Everyone’s tired of nu-soul or nu-that,’ he will say. ‘Everyone’s tired of labelling. The people I’ve worked with all seemed inspired to be working on something that perhaps has become a little difficult to label in this age where everything needs to have a convenient tag to consume it.’
Last autumn, Richard Ashcroft went to New York. He had a studio appointment with No ID, the Chicagoan producer of Common and Jay-Z. They only had ten days together. Get ready to join the United Nations Of Sound. An album that taps into music deep and powerful, loud and raucous, built on groove and melody and soul and psychedelic imagination. You’ll dance your socks off and sing your heart out. That’s what Richard Ashcroft was doing at 4am in a Brooklyn studio.
The energy crackles out of the album he and his new cohorts have made. This is United Nations Of Sound. It’s the most cohesively brilliant, top-to-bottom impassioned and ear-burningly liberated album Ashcroft has ever made.