Any moment now, VERVE will make the obligatory proclamation 'We are the best band in the whole world' - surely.
The strange thing is, they never do. Hut Records' latest signings are reputed to be cocky pop starlets, but instead they are reticent, reserved and almost emarrassed. This however, may be a polite veneer for plain boredom:
Verve are good, very good. they know it and it's no problem - but when you cross confidence with arrogance you breed hatred, and this Wigan four-piece tread the thin line between awesome and loathsome. «I'd rather be two contrasting things as opposed to some mediocre shit», mumbles singer Richard Ashcroft, barely glancing up from his coffee cup. It has been suggested (by both critics and music fans) that this tousled and lithe vocalist possesses rare and outlandish (super)star qualities, and it's not beyond feasibility. Onstage richard conjures up Gillespie/Jagger comparisons; each slightly awkward and gawky pose is brazenly executed.
One in every hundred or so frontmen owns this spark of charisma, few manage to suppress it in everyday life. For richard, seeming lost and forlorn is all part of his charm, he rarely raises his head, except to peer through his lengthy locks and grin.
« So you think we're a bit like The Stone Roses? Well the only comparison is that we're two good groups. Like you said, we know we're good and hopefully we are good, The attitude is there and we've got to go forward with it as much as we can.»
Richard - along with the other band members Simon Jones, Peter Salisbury and Nick McCabe - retreated to their rehearsal room while other eagerly opened their doors to 15 minutes of fame. Patience has undoubtedly been their virtue, resulting in heir stunning debut EP, 'All in the mind'. The B-side warrants the greatest adulation, boasting over seven minutes of undying melodies and soothing instrumentation.
So who _are_ they like? No-one and everyone at the same time. There are slight leanings towards Primal Scream, The Stone roses, James, U2 and The Rolling Stones, but their influences are so diverse you can never put a finger on them. For example, at the top of most Verve guest lists you'll find the names Wayne Hussey and Robin Guthrie, both admiring fans of the band.
Living in Wigan makes the rest of the country seem more exciting to Richard. This is because he has a terminal illness, an everlasting cold.
«When I was five my doctor told me, 'you're going to have a cold for the rest of your life, so you'd better get used to it.' Basically, I'm disease-ridden.»
Watching Verve must be the nicest way to catch a cold, ever.