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 Post subject: Re: FORTH - THEVERVEUNOFFICIAL.COM REVIEW
PostPosted: Wed Jan 05, 2011 9:21 am 
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rolling person wrote:

Bloody racists.


nah, if i'd been racist i'd have referred to my 'Nip import'

WanderingSoul wrote:
Columbo's the only track I still listen to; there's something special about it that the rest of the album totally lacks.

I remember in about mid-2008, a preview clip of Sit and Wonder became available. Other members were enthusiastic, but as soon as I heard it I had a terrible feeling about what was to come. Sadly it was vindicated.


columbo is good but always think it needs a bit of oomph towards the end....but sit and wonder is tops imo. loads of layers to it.

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 Post subject: Re: FORTH - THEVERVEUNOFFICIAL.COM REVIEW
PostPosted: Sun Apr 03, 2011 9:06 am 
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It's so disapointing to never know how these songs would sound live, I'm sure Valium Skies would soar like Lucky Man live or how great a set closer Appalachian Springs would be

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 Post subject: Re: FORTH - THEVERVEUNOFFICIAL.COM REVIEW
PostPosted: Fri Mar 30, 2012 4:07 pm 
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Alex wrote:
It's so disapointing to never know how these songs would sound live, I'm sure Valium Skies would soar like Lucky Man live or how great a set closer Appalachian Springs would be


I'm completely agree.

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 Post subject: Re: FORTH - THEVERVEUNOFFICIAL.COM REVIEW
PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 4:24 am 
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Thethirdreunion wrote:
Alex wrote:
It's so disapointing to never know how these songs would sound live, I'm sure Valium Skies would soar like Lucky Man live or how great a set closer Appalachian Springs would be


I'm completely agree.

What, you had to think about it for a year?

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 Post subject: Re: FORTH - THEVERVEUNOFFICIAL.COM REVIEW
PostPosted: Sat Mar 31, 2012 1:48 pm 
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rolling person wrote:
Thethirdreunion wrote:
Alex wrote:
It's so disapointing to never know how these songs would sound live, I'm sure Valium Skies would soar like Lucky Man live or how great a set closer Appalachian Springs would be


I'm completely agree.

What, you had to think about it for a year?


Yesterday was the first that I read this topic.

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 Post subject: Re: FORTH - THEVERVEUNOFFICIAL.COM REVIEW
PostPosted: Sun Aug 04, 2013 12:40 am 
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Forth is underrated...

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 Post subject: Re: FORTH - THEVERVEUNOFFICIAL.COM REVIEW
PostPosted: Sun Aug 04, 2013 12:43 am 
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Man that build up of noise from 3:50-4:02 on Numbness, god damn is it great.

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 Post subject: Re: FORTH - THEVERVEUNOFFICIAL.COM REVIEW
PostPosted: Sun Aug 04, 2013 12:46 am 
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How many lives will I waste, how many tears will I taste before my freedom...and then RPA brilliantly breaks into a great melody with Murder Trouble and strife, turn you into another guy

I See Houses is fantastic, **** the haters.

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 Post subject: Re: FORTH - THEVERVEUNOFFICIAL.COM REVIEW
PostPosted: Sun Aug 04, 2013 12:48 am 
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Seriously Forth has so much variety it's awesome. It's a mix of everything they did while pushing themselves into new ground.

How fucking great would Noise Epic be live? Ugh...

Valium Skies still a stunner...

Unlike most people here I still don't know if I like Columbo. If they segued Love Is Noise at the end of it would have been sublime.

Love Is Noise is like a rewrite of Beautiful Day from U2 but digging in the William Blake bin for lyrics.

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 Post subject: Re: FORTH - THEVERVEUNOFFICIAL.COM REVIEW
PostPosted: Sun Aug 04, 2013 12:51 am 
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"A bed of roses, her cheeks like peaches" still cringing.

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 Post subject: Re: FORTH - THEVERVEUNOFFICIAL.COM REVIEW
PostPosted: Mon Aug 05, 2013 7:35 pm 
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I actually agree, Alex. I really like Forth. I think Judas and Ma Ma Soul are some of the best Verve tracks ever made. I love Nick's ebow on I See Houses. Yes, I like Valium Skies too... it reminds me of Lucky Man in a good way.

The sequencing was crap though... I came up with an alternate arrangement that sounds amazing. My favorite part of the sequence is this:

Muhammed Ali
Columbo
Love Is Noise

These songs all came from the same jam, and they flow together perfectly like that. The end of MA is the same bassline as the start of Columbo, and ditto for the end of Columbo and the start of LIN.

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 Post subject: Re: FORTH - THEVERVEUNOFFICIAL.COM REVIEW
PostPosted: Thu Jan 09, 2014 1:37 am 
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[quote="Alex"]It's so disapointing to never know how these songs would sound live, I'm sure Valium Skies would soar like Lucky Man live or how great a set closer Appalachian Springs would be

I agree.

[quote="Alex"]Man that build up of noise from 3:50-4:02 on Numbness, god damn is it great.
I agree.

[quote="Alex"]
I See Houses is fantastic, **** the haters.
Could have been better if there weren't so many repetitions, but yes, it has really good parts. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hAWxAHpFujc

I like nearly the entire album: Sit & Wonder, Judas, Valium Skies, Columbo, Appalachian Springs,.. Just Noise Epic is strange but the beginning of Noise Epic is fantastic. and Rather Be is better when played live. Love Is Noise isn't a typical Verve song but it has good elements, especially when played live.

Blue Pacific Ocean and All Night Long also nice.

I don't like Mama Soul and Muhammed Ali, but I don't care.

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 Post subject: Re: FORTH - THEVERVEUNOFFICIAL.COM REVIEW
PostPosted: Sun Nov 15, 2015 8:08 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: FORTH - THEVERVEUNOFFICIAL.COM REVIEW
PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2016 8:34 am 
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Here's the post you've all been waiting for for 8 years....

It's my official first-listen track by track review of Forth!

Sit and Wonder: Pretty good, nothing profound but a nice atmospheric Verve soundscape. 7/10
Love Is Noise: Eh. It's a catchy song but it barely even sounds like this band. It's very much in line with so much of the generic dance-friendly indie rock of the late 2000's. Not bad per se but not why I listen to the Verve. 5.5/10
Rather Be: I think this is a really solid ballad actually, it's not amazing but it's well put together and memorable even if Ashcroft-heavy. 7/10
Judas: Interesting. Will have to return to this but for now I can say it's got a bunch of good bits, nice work from Nick. 7/10
Numbness: Quite good. Possibly the most characteristically "Verve" track so far; the minimal lyric is hardly show-stopping but Richard's delivery is pretty powerful and the band is on top form. I like this a lot... 8/10
I See Houses: Pretty dull. Gets better as it goes on but just not very good. The music's quite evocative actually, though, and deserved a better lyric from Richard. Even the weaker parts of this album have compelling musicianship, which could not be said of the dull tracks on UH. 5/10
Noise Epic: Disjointed, if promising. Just doesn't add up to much. 6/10
Valium Skies: Again we have a song that's sonically interesting but lyrically daft. 6/10
Columbo: Good I guess, but does it really stand up to their earlier work in this vein? I feel like even the better psych jams on here are calculated attempts to appeal to the old Verve sound or something. 6/10
Appalachian Springs: Again not much to say, it's alright but I don't see myself revisiting this too much. 6/10

It's hard to get worked up about much of anything on Forth. It's all just pretty okay. I appreciate the denser sound which is more true to their 1992-1995 recordings, and overall it is much more of a group effort and a more psychedelic record than UHh, but the songs themselves are mostly just not up to par. And at least UH had a nice handful of stunners. Not only is there no BSS or Catching the Butterfly or Lucky Man on here, there's not even a Come On or Weeping Willow... Oh well, at least the overall sound never dips into the kind of utter radio-pop blandness of One Day or Velvet Morning or TDDW or Sonnet, etc. Yet even with its massive flaws, UH still felt like some kind of major effort, with much talent on display. Forth shows that Richard hasn't really stepped up his songwriting skills, and the band do some really nice work but, like I said before, the songs just aren't on that higher level.

Oh well. Now I'm gonna listen to the Thaw Session and the B-sides and wish for what could have been...


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 Post subject: Re: FORTH - THEVERVEUNOFFICIAL.COM REVIEW
PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2016 10:59 am 
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misterie wrote:
Here's the post you've all been waiting for for 8 years....

It's my official first-listen track by track review of Forth!

Sit and Wonder: Pretty good, nothing profound but a nice atmospheric Verve soundscape. 7/10
Love Is Noise: Eh. It's a catchy song but it barely even sounds like this band. It's very much in line with so much of the generic dance-friendly indie rock of the late 2000's. Not bad per se but not why I listen to the Verve. 5.5/10
Rather Be: I think this is a really solid ballad actually, it's not amazing but it's well put together and memorable even if Ashcroft-heavy. 7/10
Judas: Interesting. Will have to return to this but for now I can say it's got a bunch of good bits, nice work from Nick. 7/10
Numbness: Quite good. Possibly the most characteristically "Verve" track so far; the minimal lyric is hardly show-stopping but Richard's delivery is pretty powerful and the band is on top form. I like this a lot... 8/10
I See Houses: Pretty dull. Gets better as it goes on but just not very good. The music's quite evocative actually, though, and deserved a better lyric from Richard. Even the weaker parts of this album have compelling musicianship, which could not be said of the dull tracks on UH. 5/10
Noise Epic: Disjointed, if promising. Just doesn't add up to much. 6/10
Valium Skies: Again we have a song that's sonically interesting but lyrically daft. 6/10
Columbo: Good I guess, but does it really stand up to their earlier work in this vein? I feel like even the better psych jams on here are calculated attempts to appeal to the old Verve sound or something. 6/10
Appalachian Springs: Again not much to say, it's alright but I don't see myself revisiting this too much. 6/10

It's hard to get worked up about much of anything on Forth. It's all just pretty okay. I appreciate the denser sound which is more true to their 1992-1995 recordings, and overall it is much more of a group effort and a more psychedelic record than UHh, but the songs themselves are mostly just not up to par. And at least UH had a nice handful of stunners. Not only is there no BSS or Catching the Butterfly or Lucky Man on here, there's not even a Come On or Weeping Willow... Oh well, at least the overall sound never dips into the kind of utter radio-pop blandness of One Day or Velvet Morning or TDDW or Sonnet, etc. Yet even with its massive flaws, UH still felt like some kind of major effort, with much talent on display. Forth shows that Richard hasn't really stepped up his songwriting skills, and the band do some really nice work but, like I said before, the songs just aren't on that higher level.

Oh well. Now I'm gonna listen to the Thaw Session and the B-sides and wish for what could have been...


Good post.

Columbo's probably my favourite track on the album. It's probably the sort of jam that would have been relegated to a b-side on other albums, but it's got a good energy to it, especially the second half of the song. Appalachian Springs isn't up to much for the first half of the song, but Nick's work in the second half is just sublime and closes the album off beautifully.

All Night Long is probably the best b-side, and could have easily made the album ahead of a handful of Forth tracks which don't cut it.

Then there's this gem of a track. Unreleased officially and was leaked by Nick McCabe himself and described as "it sounds like it could have been on ASIH" or words to that effect.



It's the best thing to come from the Forth reunion and absolutely should have been on the album.

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 Post subject: Re: FORTH - THEVERVEUNOFFICIAL.COM REVIEW
PostPosted: Sat Apr 02, 2016 8:21 pm 
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Yeah I think I was just kind of tired of the album at that point, I suspect I'll appreciate the last two tracks more on re-listen.

Listening to BPO now and... What the ****? How could they leave off this song? I mean, really?!? I'm listening now and this is twice as good as anything on Forth. This is the kind of song that should have been on Forth. It harkens back to the ASIH days for sure, but it's also much more cleanly produced, more "contemporary" and accessible and has a more discernible structure to it, with some fine lyrics and a gorgeous Aschcroft vocal -- really, this is some of the best singing I've heard from him. Why would he not want to put this on there? Not like it would be out of place that much, the whole album was aiming for a spacey, ASIH-esque aural texture anyway and this song fully achieves it. BTW, is it just me or does the beginning of this song and the main guitar part generally sound a lot like Cherry Coloured Funk by the Cocteau Twins? 9.5/10

The other B-sides...
Muhammad Ali: This is great as well and obviously should have been on the album. I think what makes it better than most or all of the album is it's got a real propulsive, funky energy to it which reminds of the ANS sessions and is largely lacking on Forth. It doesn't just go nowhere for 5 minutes, the lyrics aren't cringeworthy faux-profound aphorisms, the band doesn't sound bored... that all helps too. 8.5/10
Chic Dub: Again we have a awesome groove here, showing how great a band they are when they really work together as a band and not a delivery mechanism for Richard's second-rate balladeering. It's not all that memorable and feels more like a loose jam, but it'd still be welcome over many of the Forth tracks. 7/10
Ma Ma Soul: Great Catching the Butterfly-esque tune. Nice melody in the verses, catchy chorus. This could have been a single, really, and it's definitely better than the two they released. Maybe a bit simple lyrically, but it all sounds fucking great. A shame... 8/10
All Night Long: Superb, this is the kind of extended melancholy ballad that reminds of ANS, yet even as I make all these comparisons to past work I must admit that these new songs are all a step forward for them and have a sound all their own -- a natural evolution of what came before, combining the crisp clarity of UH with the psychedelia and full-band participation of the early records. This song evinces that just as well as any from the Forth sessions, and it eviscerates mediocre ballads like Valium Skies or the pretty lame I See Houses... again, should have been included, and should have replaced songs like those which are clearly inferior. 9/10
Major Force: Similar to Columbo, Noise Epic or Appalachian in being more of a free jam, but I like this a bit more, McCabe really lets loose. 8/10
Mover: OK technically not exactly new but whatever. Still could have been on the album. What differentiates it though is that the production seems more minimal, more like ANS and UH in that there aren't these echoing cascading walls of sound gently reverberating over the rest of the tune. It's weird but Forth actually has the most psychedelic production of any non-ASIH verve LP, it's just that the songs don't live up to it. Anyway, this is a great upbeat rocker in the vein of TRP or Three Steps or even Blue. It's not life-changing but it's really nice. Maybe it'd fit better on UH than Forth after all, but I like it a lot. 8/10

God damn. From reading around I know I'm far from alone in being frustrated by this... Just bad decision-making all around. Unlike with UH where it was probably destined to be what it was and there was no stopping Richard's whims, with Forth it seems like they could've really done anything. They could've come back with an awesome record that took it all back to the 92-95 glory days, incorporating all the refinement that had happened since. Instead we got an album that feels totally half-baked, like they purposefully left off all the passionate, interesting, great tracks in favor of the middling ones that are more likely to be played in a department store. What the hell? Bafflement is my only response.


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 Post subject: Re: FORTH - THEVERVEUNOFFICIAL.COM REVIEW
PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2016 1:14 pm 
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[quote="misterie"]Yeah I think I was just kind of tired of the album at that point, I suspect I'll appreciate the last two tracks more on re-listen.

Listening to BPO now and... What the ****? How could they leave off this song? I mean, really?!? I'm listening now and this is twice as good as anything on Forth. This is the kind of song that should have been on Forth. It harkens back to the ASIH days for sure, but it's also much more cleanly produced, more "contemporary" and accessible and has a more discernible structure to it, with some fine lyrics and a gorgeous Aschcroft vocal -- really, this is some of the best singing I've heard from him. Why would he not want to put this on there? Not like it would be out of place that much, the whole album was aiming for a spacey, ASIH-esque aural texture anyway and this song fully achieves it. BTW, is it just me or does the beginning of this song and the main guitar part generally sound a lot like Cherry Coloured Funk by the Cocteau Twins? 9.5/10

The other B-sides...
Muhammad Ali: This is great as well and obviously should have been on the album. I think what makes it better than most or all of the album is it's got a real propulsive, funky energy to it which reminds of the ANS sessions and is largely lacking on Forth. It doesn't just go nowhere for 5 minutes, the lyrics aren't cringeworthy faux-profound aphorisms, the band doesn't sound bored... that all helps too. 8.5/10
Chic Dub: Again we have a awesome groove here, showing how great a band they are when they really work together as a band and not a delivery mechanism for Richard's second-rate balladeering. It's not all that memorable and feels more like a loose jam, but it'd still be welcome over many of the Forth tracks. 7/10
Ma Ma Soul: Great Catching the Butterfly-esque tune. Nice melody in the verses, catchy chorus. This could have been a single, really, and it's definitely better than the two they released. Maybe a bit simple lyrically, but it all sounds fucking great. A shame... 8/10
All Night Long: Superb, this is the kind of extended melancholy ballad that reminds of ANS, yet even as I make all these comparisons to past work I must admit that these new songs are all a step forward for them and have a sound all their own -- a natural evolution of what came before, combining the crisp clarity of UH with the psychedelia and full-band participation of the early records. This song evinces that just as well as any from the Forth sessions, and it eviscerates mediocre ballads like Valium Skies or the pretty lame I See Houses... again, should have been included, and should have replaced songs like those which are clearly inferior. 9/10
Major Force: Similar to Columbo, Noise Epic or Appalachian in being more of a free jam, but I like this a bit more, McCabe really lets loose. 8/10
Mover: OK technically not exactly new but whatever. Still could have been on the album. What differentiates it though is that the production seems more minimal, more like ANS and UH in that there aren't these echoing cascading walls of sound gently reverberating over the rest of the tune. It's weird but Forth actually has the most psychedelic production of any non-ASIH verve LP, it's just that the songs don't live up to it. Anyway, this is a great upbeat rocker in the vein of TRP or Three Steps or even Blue. It's not life-changing but it's really nice. Maybe it'd fit better on UH than Forth after all, but I like it a lot. 8/10

God damn. From reading around I know I'm far from alone in being frustrated by this... Just bad decision-making all around. Unlike with UH where it was probably destined to be what it was and there was no stopping Richard's whims, with Forth it seems like they could've really done anything. They could've come back with an awesome record that took it all back to the 92-95 glory days, incorporating all the refinement that had happened since. Instead we got an album that feels totally half-baked, like they purposefully left off all the passionate, interesting, great tracks in favor of the middling ones that are more likely to be played in a department store. What the hell? Bafflement is my only response.


And what about The Thaw Session, do you like it?
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 Post subject: Re: FORTH - THEVERVEUNOFFICIAL.COM REVIEW
PostPosted: Wed Apr 06, 2016 11:59 pm 
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I definitely liked the Thaw Session a lot, it just seemed less cohesive and polished obviously than the other B-sides. Would need to listen again to give a more informed judgment, but yeah I wish the whole album had turned out like that session for sure.


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 Post subject: Re: FORTH - THEVERVEUNOFFICIAL.COM REVIEW
PostPosted: Tue Apr 19, 2016 10:16 pm 
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Good reads, thanks for posting. Years on, I still find Judas, Ma Ma Soul, and Blue Pacific Ocean to be musically some of the best songs Verve have ever done.

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 Post subject: Re: FORTH - THEVERVEUNOFFICIAL.COM REVIEW
PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2016 2:24 am 
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Man I FUCKING love Forth. I wouldn't change a thing. B-Sides are superb as well.

I'd kill for all the hours they recorded.

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 Post subject: Re: FORTH - THEVERVEUNOFFICIAL.COM REVIEW
PostPosted: Wed May 25, 2016 5:41 am 
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Alex wrote:
Man I FUCKING love Forth. I wouldn't change a thing. B-Sides are superb as well.

I'd kill for all the hours they recorded.

Really? You wouldn't swap out any of the album tracks (like I See Houses, Valium Skies, Love Is Noise, etc) for B-sides like BPO, All Night Long, Muhammad Ali, Ma Ma Soul, or Chic Dub?


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 Post subject: Re: FORTH - THEVERVEUNOFFICIAL.COM REVIEW
PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2016 2:06 am 
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[quote="misterie"]
Really? You wouldn't swap out any of the album tracks (like I See Houses, Valium Skies, Love Is Noise, etc) for B-sides like BPO, All Night Long, Muhammad Ali, Ma Ma Soul, or Chic Dub?

I'm a purist lol.

Not to sound like a pretentious shithead, bu I'd rather judge an album as it is, the way the artist envisioned it as such.

Like all this tinkering with UH track listing, or ANS, or ASIH is just fucking nuts to me. Each of their albums, especially UH, flow so well from start to finish...I just can't see adding Stamped or the Longest Day or Echo Bass or MSG to Urban Hymns, where the hell would it be placed? Same goes for the ANS B-Sides and ASIH.

I hate the fact playlists and burnable CDs exist, it just cheapens the album format.

I wish there were more rockers on Forth, not that I have a problem with the slow rolling groove most of the tracks here are but I want something I can rock out to.

2:59 on Numbness on is my favorite McCabe solo of all time, I get goosebumps every time I hear it build up into it.

The only track I don't really like much is Love Is Noise, it sounds out of place on the album and highlights Richard's **** songwriting post-UH. Live though, with Davide Rossi, sounds fucking EPIC. Rather Be sounds awesome live as well.

**** can you imagine how good Appalachian Springs would have been live? Valium Skies? Such a fucking shame we'll never know...
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Last edited by Alex on Fri May 27, 2016 2:11 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: FORTH - THEVERVEUNOFFICIAL.COM REVIEW
PostPosted: Fri May 27, 2016 2:07 am 
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Listening to Mover (2008) right now...smiling, what a fucking banger. Richard is at the top of his game with this track, Nick's guitar playing is fucking ACE! And Si/Sobbo with that sick groove, Jesus.

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 Post subject: Re: FORTH - THEVERVEUNOFFICIAL.COM REVIEW
PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2016 11:26 am 
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[quote="Alex"]

Not to sound like a pretentious shithead, bu I'd rather judge an album as it is, the way the artist envisioned it as such.


Except, there seems to have been some major contention over the tracklisting amongst the band.

[quote="Alex"]

The only track I don't really like much is Love Is Noise, it sounds out of place on the album and highlights Richard's **** songwriting post-UH.


What!? It was a fucking great comeback single. Who knows how that idea would have turned out as a solo piece (OK....!), but with the Verve it's fucking amazing and was live too.

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 Post subject: Re: FORTH - THEVERVEUNOFFICIAL.COM REVIEW
PostPosted: Thu Aug 25, 2016 2:37 pm 
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Well I have no idea what the proposed track listing would have been, all I can do is judge it by what was released. I'm not going to review it by what hypothetically could have been on the album.

What I would have done is add Love is Noise at the end of Columbo becuase both tracks were taken from the same jam. I roughly segued both a few years ago and it sounds really good. Then end it of course with Appalachian Springs.

Yeah it's a good track live and so was Sit and Wonder, but it's slightly too repetitive. I don't think the track makes much sense on the album as I said, but then again Forth is trying to compromise with every Verve fan, have a little ASIH, ANS, UH, etc.

Someone here said it sounded like the band was just copying themselves which I think is a fair criticism, but then I wonder how different could they sound?

The only downer I have, even if I still enjoy the record, is I'm not sure I like how McCabe plays on it. Someone said it's like a sepia lava lamp, it relaxes and glides. I guess I want it to be punchier, edgier, dirtier. Like Sit and Wonder sounds limp, yet the live recording I have of it has this incredible dark cavernous sound to it.

Oh well. If the first 3 albums are the Gospel then Forth is apocryphal. It doesn't really add or detract from their legacy. Still the greatest band from the 90s easily. Forth could have been much worse if it was a deliberate cash grab.

I will say though, I wish the record could have captured how incredible they sound live. Even Rather Be from that radio session is fantastic but the album version leaves me wanting more. I guess you could say that even with their 90s output anyway.

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