Though shorn of the more overtly shoegazer-styled elements of their debut A Storm in Heaven
, the Verve
's sophomore effort A Northern Soul
is no less epic in scope, forging a heavier, more traditionally psychedelic sound infused with a chaotic energy which mirrors the emotional upheaval at the heart of Richard Ashcroft
's songs. Reportedly produced under the influence of excessive drug use, the album is harrowingly intense, its darkly hypnotic momentum steered by Nick McCabe
's spiraling guitar leads and Ashcroft
's incantatory vocals; tracks like the remarkable "On Your Own," "So It Goes," and the majestically morose "History" are searing evocations of isolation and desperation, soaring yet heartbreaking anthems of disillusionment and loss.