The Verve, Forth
Official Release Date: August 26
The Verdict: Last year, following a decade of increasingly cheesy solo output, Richard Ashcroft finally broke down and put his band back together. The resultant Forth sounds (mercifully) nothing like his albums and not much like the Verve's 1997 breakthrough Urban Hymns either, but instead more like the band's noodle-y, reverb-soaked mid-nineties material. This is a good thing. Nick McCabe's awesome guitar playing could probably cover a multitude of sins, but there aren't really any here (even not-great single "Love Is Noise" sounds pretty good in context). Highlights include "Judas," "Numbness," and "I See Houses," but whenever these guys get together and play one chord for six minutes (as they do on pretty much all tracks), it's hard to complain.