Album review: Richard Ashcroft’s These People offers a dose of nostalgia, paired with a sprinkling of fresher sounds

The Verve’s former frontman (the band split in 2010) presents a work that is both referential and progressive.

These People by Richard Ashcroft. Courtesy Cooking Vinyl
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These People

Richard Ashcroft

(Cooking Vinyl)

Three stars

Richard Ashcroft returns with These People, his fifth solo album and his first for six years. The Verve's former frontman (the band split in 2010) presents a work that is both referential and progressive.

The title track appears to recapture the sonic architecture and post-party melancholia of his most productive Britpop years, while other tracks – including Ain't the Future So Bright – highlight the promise of a new direction.

But it is in the tracks that fuse the past and the present where These People begins to impose itself. Out of My Body is driven along by all manner of keyboards, synths and electronic ­flirtation, while They Don't Own Me is a seeming ­reimagining of The Verve's 1997 classic Lucky Man.

Ashcroft’s everyman sentiments and his quirky cultural references may grate with some – “Don’t go looking for your Watergate,” he sings on the album’s opener – but his songwriting powers seem undimmed by the passage of time.

If you fancy a dose of nostalgia, paired with a sprinkling of fresher sounds, then These People is well worth a punt.

nmarch@thenational.ae