After trying to take over the world with orchestral
pomposity and proclamations about Jesus, the former
Verve frontman has returned to basics with a
stripped-down bluesy rock stomp.
It's not quite minimalism, but next to Bittersweet
Symphony and The Drugs Don't Work, it's certainly
quite a dramatic departure, reminiscent of early Mick
Jagger and The Stones at their most raw, with
only the merest hint of northern soul thrown in.
Ashcroft's voice comes across gravely, if a little
weak, over a simple lyrical hook that's unpretentious
and immediately catchy, suggesting that he really has
given himself a slap and seen the light. B-side Sweet
Brother Malcolm is a gentle Mississippi
Delta-via-Manchester acoustic number that reminds us
what a great songwriter he can be when he's not
disappearing up his own backside.
It's one of those singles that (a) makes me regret
I didn't buy the last album and (b) makes me want to
spend the rest of the evening listening to the ones I
did. In which case, I think it's done its job.