Maybe I wasnÁ¢€â„¢t listening to The Verve hard enough, but after Á¢€Å“Bittersweet SymphonyÁ¢€ came, went, and wound its way through the legal system, I wouldnÁ¢€â„¢t have expected Richard Ashcroft to last for more than one solo album, let alone several Á¢€” to say nothing of something as full of glorious, ragged swagger as Keys to the World.
ThereÁ¢€â„¢s nothing new here, naturally; Ashcroft is a traditionalist in true Stonesian fashion (something that, IÁ¢€â„¢m happy to say, not even a legal verdict can change). But songs like Á¢€Å“Why Not Nothing?Á¢€ (download) and Á¢€Å“Simple SongÁ¢€ (download) prove that thereÁ¢€â„¢s still some juice left between the grooves of rockÁ¢€â„¢s black vinyl heart.
A perfect blend of Á¢€Ëœ66 and Á¢€Ëœ06, built out of phlegm and whiskey and razor blades and every other ingredient in the rock & roll cookbook, Keys is a gem. A small gem, and one that IÁ¢€â„¢d wager probably wonÁ¢€â„¢t make it to many year-end Best Of lists, but a gem nonetheless.