Former Verve frontman Richard Ashcroft sails alone and successfully charters into smooth waters on Human Conditions.
Ashcroft’s soothing voice floats along wisps of light harmonies that melt into laid-back guitars and strings.
“Check The Meaning,” “Buy It In Bottles” and “The Miracle” are tinged with the grandeur that helped launch The Verve to platinum success.
Ashcroft swaggers and swoons while serving double-duty as vocalist and guitarist on most of the tracks.
Ashcroft also lends his talents to bass, keyboards and percussion.
Former Beach Boy and pop visionary Brian Wilson makes a guest appearance on “Nature Is The Law.”
Wilson’s mighty roar is as loud and passionate as ever, giving Ashcroft’s already powerful croon an added boost.
Ashcroft’s lyrics are stern, cynical and sarcastic, yet somehow hopeful.
He remains honest and genuine, baring his soul on one of the most unique and captivating albums of the year.
– Dustin Schoof
Sahara Hotnights, Sweden’s latest export, has invaded the airwaves with their American debut Jennie Bomb.
Following in the footsteps of fellow Swedish rockers The Hives, Sahara Hotnights proves there is life after ABBA.
Jennie Bomb draws its strength from snarling riffs and crowd-friendly choruses reminiscent of MC5, The Ramones and Joan Jett.
Tracks “Alright Alright (Here’s My Fist Where’s The Fight?)” and “Keep Up The Speed” sizzle and pop with attitude.
“On Top Of Your World” and “Only The Fake Survive” are pure punk.
“With Or Without Control” hints to the lighter and more melodic side of Sahara Hotnights.
The trick is guitarists Maria Andersson (who also doubles as vocalist) and Jennie Asplund’s ability to keep the songs lively and loose.
Andersson’s Belinda Carlisle-like wail puts an interesting spin on the album, but that’s about where the surprises end.
The trouble lies in the assembly line flow of songs.
No twists or turns, just run-of-the-mill rock ‘n’ roll.
– Dustin Schoof