Though the UK-based Brit Pop/Shoegaze band The Verve will likely always be best remembered in the U.S. as those lads that got busted borrowing a little too freely from The Rolling Stones on their massive hit “Bittersweet Symphony,” they were (up until their last spit in 2009) a massively talented band that could combine loud abrasive guitars with sweet melodies and strong pop hooks.
Virgin is reminding us of that with the beautiful 3-CD box set of the band’s sophomore effort “A Northern Soul.” The album finds the band adopting more psychedelic elements to their sound (particularly on a song like “Drive You Home”), but they are still as gleeful loud and raucous as their debut. There are few weak tracks on the record, but several songs here are among the best the band ever recorded.
“A Northern Soul” is easily one of the band’s greatest moments. Sadly they only recoded four studio albums, so this box set should be a great consolation to fans. Along with the complete album, it comes with a second 11-track disc containing an EP and B-Sides, as well as a third disc of unreleased studio and BBC sessions (with stellar recordings of “Life’s An Ocean” and “So It Goes”). Hopefully “Urban Hymns” will get similar treatment.