"Why Should four lads from Wigan be able to create music so extraordinary? I 
dunno, but we can and it's time to seize it."

Five years on from their inception, bold statements, physical and musical, are 
still the language of this band. The first time you see them play you find 
yourself asking if it's them that's flying or just the rest of the world 
standing still?....if you had ears then you heard it and, if you were lucky, you 
were up in the sky with them.

Since their earliest reviews people have been eager to force the imminence of 
fame upon the band as though  it couldn't happen soon enough. It was clear that 
something special was happening and perhaps because of that, the road from then 
to now has been a strange one. They did it their way...wilful decisions, a sense 
of vision, broken ankles, arrests and god knows what else, things take as long 
as they take. Now, with their second album, The Verve are at last in sight of 
thier own grand aspirations and the superlative desires of those first reviews 
look like coming true.

The group formed in Wigan circa 1990. Richard, Simon and Pete knew each other 
from school and recruited Nick at college. Whatever went through their minds and 
into their mouths in the months that followed can only be guessed at but 
whatever it was, it worked. Nurtured by great music and Social Security and with 
eyes fixed firmly over the horizon they started making a sound that reached far 
higher than it had a right to. Gigs in early 92 led writers to describe them as 
"Gigantic" and "Already immortal" and this from a band that had yet to release a 
record . The gamble paid off. Those that saw them saw something potentially 
disconcerting, something inspiring. In a music scene that was waiting for 
anything to happen, down came The Verve. Like beggars in a Bently these boys 
were reaching for the stars, doing something that bellied their age and roots, 
and people began to respond.

Signed to Hut Records, their first three singles in 1992 - 'All in Mind', 'She's 
A Superstar' and 'Gravity Grave' - all reached the top of the Independent 
Charts. The songs, the sleeves and even the B-Sides were something to behold. 
Together they demonstrated a vision that was absent from many of their peers. 
But it was a vision that wouldn't bend for anyone, live shows saw them literally 
unplugged by philistines and, occasionally simply stopping if they felt that 
things weren't right. Capricious arrogance perhaps, but if you're sure your 
right where's the sense in going wrong?

They went on to support the Black Crowes, released another single, 'Blue' in May 
of '93 and play the street of New York City from the back of a flat bed truck. 
In June of the same year thier debut album 'A Storm In Heaven' appeared. And it 
was everything it promised to be. Typically , all the singles were absent, most 
of the songs were generated in the studio with production legend John Leckie and 
once again it proved to be a risk worth taking. By September the single 'Slide 
Away' was starting to make an impact in the States and - with the album widely 
agreed to be one of the highlights of the year - 1994 beckoned and with it 

Touring on such a scale can do things to a band. You improve but people crack, 
furniture goes out of windows, arrests are made (it was a bad year legally, not 
only did Pete find himself in a Kansas jail but the band formally known as 
'VERVE' found themselves forced to adopt the 'THE' at the behest of irate jazz 
purist lawyers). But you live and learn. Back in the U.K. they played Reading 
Festival before heading out to Europe for more festival action and hotel 

So at the begining of winter the stage was set for the second album. What 
followed was, to quote Richard, "Four intense, mad months. Really insane. In 
great ways and terrible ways. In ways that only good music and bad drugs and 
mixed emotions can make." The record was produced at Loco studios in Wales - 
with final touches and an orchestra at Abbey Road - by Owen Morris. "We needed a 
producer who would be extreme", says Richard "Owen brought his personality to 
the record. He's the only person I know who can smash a 30 foot glass window in 
the studio and then do his job. He admitted he nearly had a nervous breakdown, 
and I think that's a commendable performance".

The album that emerged from this rural apocalypse, 'A Northern Soul', is as 
extreme in the scope and scale of it's achievment as the events that surrounded 
it's making. The band entered the studio with a surplus of songs , all of them 
contenders - one evening saw Owen destroy a speaker with a chair in celebration 
of a track that didn't even make the final version - but which will appear in 
the future. The record itself fulfils all the dreams , prophiecies and promises 
that have been with the band since they started.  You could say that they have 
reached for the sky and entered the stratosphere. All The Verve's myriad 
influences are maintained here. Attempts at description lead to paradox - 
violent., compulsive, black (in every sense of the word), beautiful, personal, 
powerful, whatever.........The fragile brilliance is maintaned but somehow 
underscored with previously unseen strength. From the glorious opening 'A New 
Deacade' via detroit chaos come blues, acid rock, unknown territory -  the 
towering distortion groove of the title track - the one take monitor mix of 
'Drive You Home' to the Abbey Road strings of 'History' (the bands most self 
consciously epic song to date). For Richard it is "One character going through 
12 different experiences of pain, elation, sex, loss, romance..... all the 
emotions piled into one album. This is to the point, to the heart and from the 
soul. We've been liberated as a band. We've always played what we've wnted to 
play but now a door has opened, and I really believe we can compete with the 

This is the sound of a band crossing a meridian that was, perhaps, beyond even 
their own imaginations. What happens now is anyone's guess.

Not bad!