Richard Ashcroft – These People

RICHARD Ashcroft's latest solo album is probably the closest fans will get to a new Verve record anytime soon.

These People is the Brit and Ivor Novello award-winning artist's first CD in six years but if it is anything to go by it is evident that Ashcroft still misses his days with his celebrated Wigan band.

The record is effectively split in two with about half the songs channelling the sound and spirit of his old days with The Verve.

This is most noticeable on They Don't Own Me, a track with swelling orchestral elements and gentle acoustic guitar.

It is telling that Ashcroft reunited with Will Malone for this album.

Malone worked on the string arrangements for The Verve records, A Northern Soul and Urban Hymns, and that familiarity will make you feel like you have stepped back into the 90s.

The rest of These People is scattered with more experimental songs with electronic sections like Out of My Body and the almost disco-sounding single, Hold On.

They may divide Verve fans but the production by long-time collaborator Chris Potter is really up to scratch.

Meanwhile, the first single, This Is How It Feels, is sort of the midway point between the Ashcroft of old and new.

It is deceptively catchy considering the backbone of the song is a stop-start droning sound.

With Ashcroft selling out Manchester's Albert Hall before the album was even released, one thing is for sure – the musician has been missed and remains an icon of the indie scene.