Richard Ashcroft - Human Conditions
2 (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: Feb. 16, 2003
Review by Tony Bonyata"It sure feels like I've been here before," Richard Ashcroft sings amid a familiar string section on his second solo effort away from his former band The Verve. And, unfortunately, after listening to Human Conditions the singer / songwriter's sentiment couldn't ring truer. While Human Conditions is filled with similar balladry and swirling orchestrations that Ashcroft has explored before, it's also the downfall of a record that does little to draw attention to an artist who's proven he has the capability to come up with more inventive material than is present here.
That's certainly not to say that the album is a total waste, however. Songs such as the opener of "Check The Meaning," which hearkens back to brighter, if not more bittersweet, days, the poignancy of "Buy It In Bottles" and the sole revved-up rocker of "Bright Lights" shows that Ashcroft still has the capability to pen some fine numbers.
But the problem here is that (save for the aforementioned "Bright Lights" and the peppy "The Miracle") the compromising tone of the songs are reflective, middle-of-the-road rock ballads that, while pleasing enough for the first spin, do little to make a lasting impression.
Hopefully on his next effort he'll search out more human emotions, rather than simply slipping into familiar conditions.
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