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Rock - Released September 29, 1997 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

Distinctions Best New Reissue
With Urban Hymns, which came out in September 1997 at the height of the Britpop era, The Verve brought luxury, elegance and sophistication. It's all there, in the compelling single Bittersweet Symphony and its equally compelling string sample from a version of the Rolling Stones' The Last Time! A refined approach to music which never stopped Richard Ashcroft's band from making real pop. But this is sophisticated pop, finely gilded with divine arrangements. A few violins here, a few ballads there. Everything is judged tastefully in the third album from the then-seven-years-old Wigan band. There is something in Ashcroft's voice that hypnotises the ear from start to finish on this record. And there are certainly plenty of solid themes and strong melodies (Sonnet, The Drugs Don’t Work, Lucky Man…). In its romantic postures, Urban Hymns is an almost peerless dandy of an album, which ages with grace and ease. This Super Deluxe Edition is destined to celebrate the album's twentieth anniversary and naturally it is stuffed with bonus tracks and rarities. B-sides, alternate takes, BBC Sessions recordings and even various live tracks including a famous 1998 concert at Haigh Hall in their home town in front of 35,000 fans! © MZ
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Rock - Released September 29, 1997 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

Not long after the release of A Northern Soul, the Verve imploded due to friction between vocalist Richard Ashcroft and guitarist Nick McCabe. It looked like the band had ended before reaching its full potential, which is part of the reason why their third album, Urban Hymns -- recorded after the pair patched things up in late 1996 -- is so remarkable. Much of the record consists of songs Ashcroft had intended for a solo project or a new group, yet Urban Hymns unmistakably sounds like the work of a full band, with its sweeping, grandiose soundscapes and sense of purpose. The Verve have toned down their trancy, psychedelic excursions, yet haven't abandoned them -- if anything, they sound more muscular than before, whether it's the trippy "Catching the Butterfly" or the pounding "Come On." These powerful, guitar-drenched rockers provide the context for Ashcroft's affecting, string-laden ballads, which give Urban Hymns its hurt. The majestic "Bitter Sweet Symphony" and the heartbreaking, country-tinged "The Drugs Don't Work" are an astonishing pair, two anthemic ballads that make the personal universal, thereby sounding like instant classics. They just are the tip of the iceberg -- "Sonnet" is a lovely, surprisingly understated ballad, "The Rolling People" has a measured, electric power, and many others match their quality. Although it may run a bit too long for some tastes, Urban Hymns is a rich album that revitalizes rock traditions without ever seeming less than contemporary. It is the album the Verve have been striving to make since their formation, and it turns out to be worth all the wait. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released September 29, 1997 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

Not long after the release of A Northern Soul, the Verve imploded due to friction between vocalist Richard Ashcroft and guitarist Nick McCabe. It looked like the band had ended before reaching its full potential, which is part of the reason why their third album, Urban Hymns -- recorded after the pair patched things up in late 1996 -- is so remarkable. Much of the record consists of songs Ashcroft had intended for a solo project or a new group, yet Urban Hymns unmistakably sounds like the work of a full band, with its sweeping, grandiose soundscapes and sense of purpose. The Verve have toned down their trancy, psychedelic excursions, yet haven't abandoned them -- if anything, they sound more muscular than before, whether it's the trippy "Catching the Butterfly" or the pounding "Come On." These powerful, guitar-drenched rockers provide the context for Ashcroft's affecting, string-laden ballads, which give Urban Hymns its hurt. The majestic "Bitter Sweet Symphony" and the heartbreaking, country-tinged "The Drugs Don't Work" are an astonishing pair, two anthemic ballads that make the personal universal, thereby sounding like instant classics. They just are the tip of the iceberg -- "Sonnet" is a lovely, surprisingly understated ballad, "The Rolling People" has a measured, electric power, and many others match their quality. Although it may run a bit too long for some tastes, Urban Hymns is a rich album that revitalizes rock traditions without ever seeming less than contemporary. It is the album the Verve have been striving to make since their formation, and it turns out to be worth all the wait. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 2004 | Virgin Records

The '90s were filled with pop supernovas -- bands that burned brightly for one or two albums then sputtered to an anticlimactic conclusion. Of these bands, the Verve were one of the largest, perhaps because they imploded not once but twice. The first time, they collapsed following the release of their second album, Northern Soul, in 1995. They regrouped in the following year to record Urban Hymns, their commercial breakthrough, but lingering tensions between vocalist/songwriter Richard Ashcroft and guitarist Nick McCabe tore the group apart for a second and final time. They never became the global superstars that their early partisans predicted -- it would have been hard to compete with Oasis during their heyday -- but as the 2004 collection This Is Music: The Singles 92-98 proves, the group was too arty, too low-key, too psychedelic, too English eccentric to be superstars. Some might have said the same thing about Radiohead, but that Oxford quintet had a heavy dose of U2-styled anthemic arena rock and Thom Yorke's melodies were bigger than Ashcroft's subtle, swirling tunes. Also, Radiohead started out relatively straightforward and grew strange, while the Verve took the opposite path, beginning as post-shoegazer neo-psychedelics and ending as tasteful traditionalists. This Is Music -- which is the natural and perfect title for this compilation -- doesn't chart this journey, since it winds through the group's 12 singles, including the first LP appearance of their debut single, "All in the Mind," with little regard for chronology before ending with two OK outtakes from Urban Hymns ("This Could Be My Moment," "Monte Carlo"). This sequencing doesn't emphasize similarities throughout the body of work -- Urban Hymns is a decidedly less adventurous album than its two predecessors, which doesn't make it a lesser album -- but it doesn't hurt the collection, either, since it flows like a good concert. This collection also confirms the suspicion that the Verve were an album-oriented band that best conveyed its mission and sense of purpose on its singles, which expertly captured the feeling, spirit, and mood of each full-length record. And that's why This Is Music winds up being definitive: distilled to their singles, the Verve still sound vibrant and slightly mysterious, wiping away memories of the band's dissolution and Ashcroft's pedestrian solo career, preserving the moment when the group sounded as if the world were at their feet. © Stephen Thomas Erlewine /TiVo
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Rock - Released September 9, 2016 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

Whereas future Verve masterpieces A Northern Soul and Urban Hymns would feature succinct song structures (for the most part) and instantly memorable verses and choruses, the group's 1993 full-length debut, A Storm in Heaven, was based on buoyant, extended psychedelic passages. Looking back today, it was an interesting and original musical direction, since at the time, angst-ridden Seattle bands (and their many copycats) were all the rage. While a few songs hint at the Verve's future penchant for composing pop gems ("Make It Till Monday," "Blue," "Butterfly"), many of the longer tracks are just as strong, especially the album's best track, the hauntingly beautiful "Already There." Also featured was the album-opening space rocker "Star Sail," the shifting moods of "Slide Away," the misty "Beautiful Mind," and the stark closer, "See You in the Next One (Have a Good Time)." A fine debut, A Storm in Heaven proved to be the important connection between the Verve's expansive early work (1992's self-titled EP) and their later worldwide pop hits. © Greg Prato /TiVo
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Alternative & Indie - Released September 9, 2016 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

Though shorn of the more overtly shoegazer-styled elements of their debut A Storm in Heaven, the Verve's sophomore effort A Northern Soul is no less epic in scope, forging a heavier, more traditionally psychedelic sound infused with a chaotic energy which mirrors the emotional upheaval at the heart of Richard Ashcroft's songs. Reportedly produced under the influence of excessive drug use, the album is harrowingly intense, its darkly hypnotic momentum steered by Nick McCabe's spiraling guitar leads and Ashcroft's incantatory vocals; tracks like the remarkable "On Your Own," "So It Goes," and the majestically morose "History" are searing evocations of isolation and desperation, soaring yet heartbreaking anthems of disillusionment and loss. © Jason Ankeny /TiVo
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Rock - Released September 9, 2016 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

Though shorn of the more overtly shoegazer-styled elements of their debut A Storm in Heaven, the Verve's sophomore effort A Northern Soul is no less epic in scope, forging a heavier, more traditionally psychedelic sound infused with a chaotic energy which mirrors the emotional upheaval at the heart of Richard Ashcroft's songs. Reportedly produced under the influence of excessive drug use, the album is harrowingly intense, its darkly hypnotic momentum steered by Nick McCabe's spiraling guitar leads and Ashcroft's incantatory vocals; tracks like the remarkable "On Your Own," "So It Goes," and the majestically morose "History" are searing evocations of isolation and desperation, soaring yet heartbreaking anthems of disillusionment and loss. © Jason Ankeny /TiVo
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Rock - Released September 9, 2016 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

Whereas future Verve masterpieces A Northern Soul and Urban Hymns would feature succinct song structures (for the most part) and instantly memorable verses and choruses, the group's 1993 full-length debut, A Storm in Heaven, was based on buoyant, extended psychedelic passages. Looking back today, it was an interesting and original musical direction, since at the time, angst-ridden Seattle bands (and their many copycats) were all the rage. While a few songs hint at the Verve's future penchant for composing pop gems ("Make It Till Monday," "Blue," "Butterfly"), many of the longer tracks are just as strong, especially the album's best track, the hauntingly beautiful "Already There." Also featured was the album-opening space rocker "Star Sail," the shifting moods of "Slide Away," the misty "Beautiful Mind," and the stark closer, "See You in the Next One (Have a Good Time)." A fine debut, A Storm in Heaven proved to be the important connection between the Verve's expansive early work (1992's self-titled EP) and their later worldwide pop hits. © Greg Prato /TiVo
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Rock - Released August 26, 2008 | On Your Own Records

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Rock - Released January 1, 1994 | Hut

The Verve had amassed a substantial amount of non-album B-sides from British singles issued in light of their 1993 debut full-length, A Storm in Heaven, which remained largely unheard elsewhere in the world. To coincide with a spot on Lollapalooza 1994's second stage, a nine-track compilation of uncommon material was issued Stateside, entitled No Come Down (B Sides & Outtakes). Some of the tracks were already issued on their aforementioned debut and their self-titled five-song EP from 1992, but the versions included here are completely different, such as a nearly ten-minute long live version of "Gravity Grave" from Glastonbury '93, stirring acoustic versions of "Make It Till Monday" and "Butterfly," plus a "USA Mix" of "Blue." The remaining selections are more obscure: the title track that gently opens the album, as well as several other soothing compositions (Where the Geese Go, "6 O' Clock," "One Way to Go," and "Twilight"). While the Verve's early B-sides aren't as exceptional as the ones that were included on the singles for 1995's A Northern Soul and 1997's Urban Hymns, No Come Down is still recommended to the serious fan. © Greg Prato /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 1992 | Hut

Prior to their full-length debut, A Storm in Heaven, psychedelic alterna-popsters the Verve issued a self-titled EP. None of these songs appear on any of their other albums (except for a lengthy live version of "Gravity Grave," which can be found on the No Come Down compilation), and they show that the band was capable of greatness in its formative stage. Although not as hard-rocking as future releases would be (e.g., 1995's excellent A Northern Soul), The Verve EP succeeds with tripped-out, ethereal pop, which is consistently haunting and beautiful. Both "A Man Called Sun" and "She's a Superstar" were early fan favorites, as was the aforementioned "Gravity Grave." Also included are the tracks "Endless Life" and the moody album closer, "Feel," which is over ten minutes long. Worth the time of any serious Verve fan. © Greg Prato /TiVo
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Rock - Released August 26, 2008 | On Your Own Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released January 1, 2009 | Virgin Records

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Pop - Released September 29, 1997 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

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Rock - Released August 26, 2016 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

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Rock - Released August 10, 2016 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)