Picks and Pans Review: The Verve

updated 09/01/2008 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/01/2008 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Forth |

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Before Coldplay became the big daddies of Brit pop, there was the Verve. "Bitter Sweet Symphony," their sweeping 1997 masterpiece, remains one of the towering achievements by any modern British band. But the group broke up in 1999, with lead singer Richard Ashcroft going on to pursue a solo career. On this reunion album, the blokes hit their stride right away on the first four tracks: Opener "Sit and Wonder" recalls Achtung Baby-era U2; "Love Is Noise," the standout single, is a pumping anthem; "Rather Be," recapturing their sense of grandeur, sounds like it could fill the heavens; and "Judas" is all moody atmospherics. But Forth loses some of its momentum in its second half, and some of the songs go on too long. Even so, too much of the Verve is definitely better than none at all.

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