The Herald Magazine - - CONTENTS - CHRIS FLOYD

They never get men­tioned as a Brit­pop band, do they? And yet The Verve were ac­tive at the same time as Blur and Oa­sis. It’s just that they were a lit­tle off the pace, a lit­tle over to the side. Back then lead singer Richard Ashcroft was known as Mad Richard and no­body re­ally took them se­ri­ously.

But no sooner had Brit­pop crashed and burned (some­where around the time ev­ery­one re­alised what a coked-up, bloated thing the third Oa­sis al­bum Be Here Now was), it was the Verve who stepped in and took over with the re­lease of Ur­ban Hymns 20 years ago this month.

The band’s leery-yet-teary brand of lad­dish­ness, as dis­played on sin­gles such as Bit­ter­sweet Sym­phony and The Drugs Don’t Work, formed the tem­plate for all those who came af­ter them, from Em­brace to Cold­play.

Chris Floyd’s pho­to­graphs of the band on the road, gath­ered to­gether in a new book, are in one way a map­ping of the band’s rise. As Michael Holden sug­gests in the fore­word: “What you can see here is the group’s jour­ney from thrilled out­siders to bona fide phe­nom­e­non.”

But they’re also a snap­shot in time. Here is the mo­ment when Bri­tain went Blairy, when the coun­try was cocky and full of it­self but maybe, too, a lit­tle more in touch with its own emo­tions. The Verve pro­vided the sound­track.

The Verve: Pho­to­graphs by Chris Floyd is pub­lished by Reel Art Press, priced £29.95. Visit reelart­press.com

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