Richard Ashcroft ‘Acoustic Hymns Vol. 1’ Album Review
Richard Ashcroft, ever since his days fronting indie favourites The Verve, has been heralded as one of the UK’s top songwriters and this compilation see the man give some of his biggest moments an acoustic reworking for this twelve-track collection. The compilation opens with one of his finest moments, hit single “Bittersweet Symphony”, from The Verve’s groundbreaking third album “Urban Hymns”. One of Britpop’s most recognisable songs, this reworking doesn’t add or detract from the original but couldn’t be a better way to start off this compilation.
Unsurprisingly, material from the hit album features heavily amongst the tracklisting with wonderful remakes of “Sonnet”, “Space And Time” and “Weeping Willow” also making the cut from the “Urban Hymns” album. Two things jump out while listening to these new versions, firstly how even reworked, these songs have stood the test of time and, secondly, how far above the rest of the pack Ashcroft was and still is as a songwriter.
It’s not all reworked tracks from his time fronting The Verve though as Ashcroft has a wealth of material as a solo artist to delve into. From his solo work, you get a stunning rendition of his debut solo single “A Song For Lovers” and, along with the aforementioned “Bittersweet Symphony”, one of the highlights of the collection “C’Mon People (We’re Making It Now)” a track which sees Ashcroft joined by another one of Britpop’s musical Godfathers, Liam Gallagher for this perfect collaboration.
Wrapping up the album, we get taken back to “Urban Hymns” again for a serene, emotional rendition of “The Drugs Don’t Work”. Whereas “Bittersweet Symphony” didn’t really veer too far away from the original, this rendition is simply sublime and is, despite the tragic theme of the song, the perfect way to end this stunning collection.
On the evidence of this first volume, with such a wealth of material both as a solo artist and frontman at his fingertips, the thought of Ashcroft reworking more of that material for future volumes in this series is mouthwatering to say the least.
A Song for the Lovers
C’mon People (We’re Making It Now) [feat. Liam Gallagher]
This Thing Called Life
Space & Time
Break the Night With Colour
The Drugs Don’t Work
You can pre-order the album here