The Verve – A Northern Soul (1995)
In my Urban Hymns review, I compared The Verve’s ’97 release to Be Here Now, the oft-maligned album of the same year by their fellow Greater Manchester contemporaries, Oasis.
I was one album late.
While I stand by that review, sonically, the better apples-to-apples comparison would be between Be Here Now and A Northern Soul.
The strengths are similar: both feature big & bold openers and softer & stellar mid-album gems. I especially like Northern Soul’s On Your Own.
The flaws are also shared: sometimes, the songs are just too long/too loud and missing some of the magic each band is capable of producing.
The big difference: A Northern Soul is the sound of a group on its ascent & Be Here Now was the beginning of a seemingly irreversibly slide from (Morning) glory.
When an ‘up-and-coming’ group puts out a good record, it’s exciting. Imperfections tend to be attributed to growth, to a group finding their sound.
Unfortunately for the Gallaghers, when a superstar band puts out a good record, it’s met with disappointment. Imperfections tend to be attributed to a group that has peaked, a group that has lost their way.
For that reason, the legacies of these records, however unjust, will probably be very different.