Though the band only made three studio albums before disbanding in 1999, the Verve still proved to be one of the most compelling rock groups to emerge from Britain in the '90s. THIS IS MUSIC: THE SINGLES 92-98 upholds the claim, and gives 14 prime examples of the ensemble's sharp songcraft and riveting sonic sweep. Powered by the rumbling of bassist Simon Jones and drummer Peter Salisbury, and characterized by Nick McCabe's swirling guitar-scapes and Richard Ashcroft's hypnotic vocals, the Verve created a hugely expansive sound that drew from '60s psychedelia, mainstream rock, and an indie shoegazer ethos.
More subtle and atmospheric than contemporaneous work by Blur and Oasis, the Verve's spiraling, echoing textures were offset by a fierce edge that underscores the desperation at the music's core. This is particularly true of early tracks, including "Slide Away" and "Blue," which offered up a heady crunch. The Verve refined its sound without losing any of its epic scope, culminating in the hit singles from 1997's URBAN HYMNS, the aching ballad "The Drugs Don't Work" and the majestic "Bittersweet Symphony." The Verve's songs--especially their singles--were symphonies within themselves, and THIS IS MUSIC ensures the band's brief, important legacy will continue to hold sway.
Uncut (p.170) - 4 stars out of 5 - "The Verve for all their vastness, had a tenderness of touch that rendered them distinct..."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.124) - 4 stars out of 5 - "[A] vitalising, occasionally era-defining force."