Since their formation in 1990, The Verve have seen their musical style change from intense psychedelia to passionate alt-rock. The early 90s saw the archetypal struggling artists endure numerous changes to both their name and line-up, more narcotic dependencies than it’s worth mentioning, and the production of three albums and several EPs, none of which seemed to have the desired impact on the musical world. However, the 1997 number-1 release ‘Urban Hymns’ saw the Wigan-based rockers attain both commercial and critical acclaim. To mark the 20th anniversary of this genre-redefining album, a deluxe version of the LP is being released.
A re-mastered version of the album kicks off the collection, the stunningly rich sound quality bringing an immersive, hugely emotive texture to the music. From the weary tones of ‘The Drugs Don’t Work’ to the funk-rock anthem ‘Come On!’, it’s clear to see how ‘Urban Hymns’ became one of the most iconic British albums of all time. With songs such as ‘Lucky Man’ possessing a Bob Dylan-esque quality, Richard Ashcroft cements his status as a superb songwriter. A collection of B-sides follows, allowing the listener to discover new favourite tracks, with the songs providing a beautiful contrast to the more familiar hits.
The Verve have a reputation for fantastic live performances. However, due to conflict within the band, most of us will not have had the chance to experience them. This is changed by the inclusion of a plethora of live recordings. From the BBC Evening Sessions (27/8/97) to the infamous Haigh Hall homecoming gig (24/5/98), these recordings capture an intensity and vibrancy that is quite unlike the studio versions. Arguably the bands biggest hit ‘Bittersweet Symphony’ takes on a raw, unadulterated form, resulting in an almost confessional, emotional version of the much-loved song.
Previously unreleased versions of the album tracks, and further live material similarly allow us a glance into the inner workings of the band. This is the closest we will get to hearing exactly what The Verve needed to shout to the world. Alongside the array of musical offerings, this edition also contains a DVD. Featuring footage from Later with Jools Holland 1/11/97, Live at Haigh Hall, and Promo Videos, it offers the listener a truly immersive experience into the minds of The Verve.
A stunning tribute to one of the greatest albums of the last 20 years, ‘Urban Hymns – 20th Anniversary Deluxe Edition’ will be released on the 1st September 2017 via Virgin EMI Records.
Available at: https://theverve.lnk.to/UrbanHymnsSDFT
Urban Hymns Standard CD Tracklist: 01. Bitter Sweet Symphony 02. Sonnet 03. The Rolling People 04. The Drugs Don’t Work 05. Catching the Butterfly 06. Neon Wilderness 07. Space and Time 08. Weeping Willow 09. Lucky Man 10. One Day 11. This Time 12. Velvet Morning 13. Come On
Urban Hymns 2 CD Tracklist: Disc One (Remastered Album) 01. Bitter Sweet Symphony 02. Sonnet 03. The Rolling People 04. The Drugs Don’t Work 05. Catching the Butterfly 06. Neon Wilderness 07. Space and Time 08. Weeping Willow 09. Lucky Man 10. One Day 11. This Time 12. Velvet Morning 13. Come On
Disc Two (Previously Unreleased Live 1997/1998) 01. This Is Music * 02. Space and Time * 03. Catching the Butterfly * 04. Sonnet * 05. The Rolling People * 06. Weeping Willow * 07. The Drugs Don’t Work * 08. Lucky Man * 09. Life’s an Ocean * 10. Velvet Morning * 11. Bitter Sweet Symphony * 12. A New Decade – Washington DC 9.30 Club (3/11/97) 13. History – Brixton Academy (16/1/98) 14. Slide Away – Manchester Academy (11/8/97)
* = Live at Haigh Hall on 24/5/98
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