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The Verve
Urban Hymns

The first time I heard "Bittersweet Symphony," I thought it was one of the catchiest damn songs I had ever heard. The Pachabel- like intro with the tongue-in-cheek bird noises coupled with the loping beat and lazy vocals drew me in like a coiled cobra. Weeks later, I feel the same way, but I've also grown to appreciate the rest of the songs on the album as well. The Verve has quietly been around for quite awhile in the UK, but they've never really caught on huge in the US. Most people here still think you're talking about that group that did "The Freshman." Egad.

The main reason behind this is because they don't have the ego's or the hooks that Oasis does. This isn't a bad thing by any means. Although there are some louder rockin' songs on Urban Hymns, the songs where the group comes across the most effectively is on quieter, beautifully long arrangements like, "The Drugs Don't Work" and "Velvet Morning." Chances are that you probably won't hear more than their first single on your local radio station, but don't be discouraged. They can pen a seven-minute song like nobody else and create a dreamy surrounding of music to go right along with it. I wouldn't want them carving a song in half to fit it on the radio anyway.

Rating: 8