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6 Degrees Entertainment

Title - 'Human Conditions' (Virgin)
Artist - Richard Ashcroft
I loved The Verve, repeat, I loved The Verve. I, like most, found Richard's first solo disc a bit, well, disappointing. It did have it's moments, I thought "Brave New World", "C'Mon People" and "You On My Mind In My Sleep" were all great tunes. But no, it really wasn't Urban Hymns was it. It is just now that I feel that is OK. Let's all face it, Richard is in a much different place now... wife, baby, freedom, those things make a big difference in one's life. With Human Conditions, he continues on the same sort of road. The songs are very well thought out, very personal and very good. I think this is a stronger post Verve effort than "Alone With Everybody". He starts the album off again with the first single, "Check The Meaning" which is actually - although really long - quite good. The best part of the song is the moment that familar voice kicks right in with a hook that is very catchy. The rest of the record follows suit, again a more serious affair, but that doesn't make it too heavy on the soul. I especially liked the uplifting track, "Science of Silence", and with it's nice string heavy ambience it's a great tune with a nice message. I also enjoyed "Buy It In Bottles", it is one of the best things his done on his own for sure. All in all, Human Conditions is a great record. Just don't think of it as a return of The Verve, If you still want it to be a Verve record, think of it more like Urban Hymns, without the drugs and fighting of course.
James Dudley