The Verve
A Storm in Heaven


4.5
superb

Review

by Timeizillmatic9 USER (13 Reviews)
August 10th, 2011 | 72 replies | 10,255 views


Release Date: 1993 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Beautifully delicate, drugged out amazing music

5 of 5 thought this review was well written

Beautiful is the first word that comes to my mind when I listen to the Verve’s masterful debut, an album that was sadly lost in the mix and overshadowed by the band’s later work. But it is this album that most impacted me when I first heard it. Maybe it was the hazy, swirling guitars, the way Ashcroft’s voice glides across these watery soundscapes like a kite, or the brilliant melodies that caught my ear, but it is a downright shame this album never received the acclaim of Urban Hymns, because it as good if not better than that album. A Storm in Heaven straddles the divide between trippy shoegaze and the instantly lovable Britpop melodies perfectly, creating a psychedelic, yet melodic sound that is absolutely heavenly.

Nick McCabe’s reverb drenched, cavernous guitars are one of the most important aspects of the album’s sound. He is a master of manipulating sounds to craft the vast, watery soundscapes. He makes use of everything from crunching chords in “The Sun, the Sea” to the soft, clean guitar tones of the gorgeous “Already There”. Richard Ashcroft’s wonderful voice is buried under reverb and floats over the mix giving the music an even greater psychedelic feel. The rhythm section is a final touch to these soundscapes, helping the music glide on without plodding. The Britpop influence of this album sets it apart from other shoegaze records because these 9 songs are just as much songs as they are layers of sound. It helps too that Ashcroft is a wonderful lyricist, and his vague poetry only adds to the atmosphere of the album.

A Storm in Heaven is far from conventional shoegaze. Throughout the album, The Verve experiments with different sounds and instruments including jazz. Saxophones and trumpets can be heard sometimes in the caverns of sound, turning songs like “Butterfly” into hazy, psychedelic jams. As mentioned before the album is full of great songs that stand well on their own, especially the singles “Blue” and “Slide Away”. “Blue” is driven by a Salisbury backwards cymbal loop and layers of fuzzed out guitars and Ashcroft’s voice buried within the mix. Aschroft sings “Blue, I've got a question every time I hold you, yeah Blue I've got a question every time I swallow you it's true”, hazy, wonderful lines that leave it open to the listener’s interpretation if “blue” is a drug, person, or a little bit of both. “Slide Away”, driven by a watery Simon Jones bassline and gliding layers of guitar, features more vague pictures painted by Ashcroft. As Ashcroft sings “I was thinking maybe we could go outside, Let the night sky cool your foolish pride, Don't you feel alive, These are our times, These are your highs”, the listener is once again left with a scene of drug-addled love and the beauty of life.

Possibly the album’s best track is the delicate, gentle “Already There”, a track that really invokes the feeling of being underwater. McCabe’s soft guitar comes in and out of the mix along with the gorgeous background echoes that splash across the mellow track like salty ocean waves. The next track, “Beautiful Mind”, hits the listener similarly to “Already There”. It revisits the fading background echoes of that track, but uses spacey slide guitar work that swirls around Ashcroft’s voice to great effect. These two tracks are truly heavenly songs that touch the soul, and open the mind through their peaceful guitars, slowly drifting layers of sound, and Ashcroft’s drugged lyrics about achieving spiritual perfection.

Beautiful, trippy, and powerful at the same time, A Storm in Heaven truly lives up to its name: the whole album does indeed sound like a sonic storm of heavenly sound. For lovers of psychedelic music, this album is a must, but it is a great listen even for listeners who aren’t into atmospheric music. Each listen will unfold new colors and layers of sound that you didn’t catch on your last listen. If you can find this record, it would be a great idea to pick it up and immerse yourself in the beautiful sounds of A Storm in Heaven.



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user ratings (196)
Chart.
4.2
excellent
other reviews of this album
astorminheaven (5)
A perfect amalgam of explosive sound, dreamy lyrics and sonic depth; for me the pinnacle of alternat...

Krash100 (3.5)
"A Storm in Heaven" is a journey through the spaced out minds of The Verve. While it may not be a ...


Comments:Add a Comment 
BigHans
August 10th 2011



26455 Comments


Urban Hymns rules hard never heard this one.

Pyosisified
August 10th 2011



2450 Comments


good album

BigHans
August 10th 2011



26455 Comments


you just like it cause you're English

Pyosisified
August 10th 2011



2450 Comments


not english

and i only like carcass, this album blows

BigHans
August 10th 2011



26455 Comments


oh

KILL
November 16th 2011



67082 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this is gd

wacknizzle
December 9th 2012



11912 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Fuck yeah this rules, more people need to check it out.

Digging: Fall of Efrafa - Inle

minty901
January 20th 2013



1913 Comments


this sounds like radiohead to me.

SanguineCream
February 20th 2013



591 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Except this was BEFORE any of Radiohead's later output. And I'm glad someone wrote a good review and did this splendid little gem justice, cheers



minty901
February 20th 2013



1913 Comments


i wasnt meaning it as a dig. just an observation. obv this came first. its good.

SanguineCream
February 22nd 2013



591 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

All good

wacknizzle
May 29th 2013



11912 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Album sounds like being in a cave with a warm stream flowing through it. Just so blissed out and relaxing, perfect late night herb jams.

demigod!
May 29th 2013



40970 Comments


damn wack, in that case I know what I'm jamming tonight.

wacknizzle
May 29th 2013



11912 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

right on

DrHouseSchuldiner
June 1st 2013



5605 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Soooo good ..

wacknizzle
June 1st 2013



11912 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Nice, this needs more love

PunchforPunch
June 8th 2013



5302 Comments


can't buy me love

Digging: Vril - Torus

Collis
July 4th 2013



435 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

such a good album

TheSpaceMan
July 24th 2013



1524 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Great review for this, deserves another pos!
Slide Away is the theme song to the best summer nights as a drugged-out teen lol


wacknizzle
July 24th 2013



11912 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

A Beautiful Mind is like the best song ever, especially late at night high on some sort of psychoactive substance and is best saved for those moments. But really I'm always in the mood for that song and this album, I just try not to let myself play it out.



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