Sound — 9
This album is one of a kind. Whilst Urban Hymns sold millions and placed the Verve amongst Oasis as Britain's top band A Northern Soul is where the Verve's true genius can be heard. This is a band on top of their game and full of ecstacy. The sound is amazing, every member on top form. Nick McCabe's guitar playing is maginificent as can be heard on tracks like This Is Music And A New Decade. Simon Jones's bass playing has clearly developed since their debut, A Storm In Heaven as Life's An Ocean proves. Richard Ashcroft, arguably the main reason why the Verve broke up for good in 1997 sings maginficently and comes into his own as a guitar player, evident in perhaps the best track on the album, and the second single to be taken from this album, On Your Own. The sound has to do a lot with Owen Morris, who produced Oasis's first two efforts, Definetly Maybe and (Whats The Story) Morning Glory. A Storm In Heaven, produced by John Leckie didnt seem right whilst Urban Hymns sounded more like Richard Ashcroft's debut album. A Northern Soul however is perfect. Tracks like Drive You Home and Brainstorm Interlude prove just how good McCabe really was.
Lyrics — 10
Richard Ashcroft, the main songwriter for the Verve is perhaps Britain's best songwriter. Personally, this is the album which highlights his best songwriting. During this period he wrote songs like Drugs Dont Work which eventually appeared on Urban Hymns. On A Northern Soul there were clearly many emotions going through each band member, none more so than Ashcroft. Songs where his lyrics stand out include On Your Own, Life's An Ocean and A Northern Soul. The excessive drug taking comes through in both the music aswell as the lyrics. But perhaps where Ashcroft's lyrics are best and most emotional are in History, arguably the Verve's greatest song of all time. One listen to this song and you will realise how good the Verve were.
Overall Impression — 10
Shortly after A Northern Soul was made the Verve broke up. However, they soon reformed and created arguably the best album of '97, Urban Hymns and then soon split for good after that was released. Personally, I feel that A Northern Soul is the best album by the Verve. IF this were lost or stolen I would without a doubt buy it again. Whilst Urban Hymns is fantastic this album seems to sound more like a band at their top form whilst Urban Hymns seems like ti is Ashcroft and a bunch of musicians. This album is almost perfect, Brainstorm Interlude goes on for a bit to long but is still brilliant. However, with songs like On Your Own, History, This Is Music and Life's An Ocean it is definetly an album worth buying.