Bring The 'Noise'

While it was no big surprise that the Verve got back together last fall after a nine-year hiatus, what's simply stunning is the quality of its reunion album, "Forth," due this week on the band's On Yo

While it was no big surprise that the Verve got back together last fall after a nine-year hiatus, what's simply stunning is the quality of its reunion album, "Forth," due this week on the band's On Your Own imprint in North America.

More than any of the recent comeback efforts from like-minded groups, "Forth" not only equals the Verve's best work, but in many cases exceeds it. "Judas" is the most beautiful song the band has ever written, its burbling guitar lines conjuring a gloriously bleary New York sunrise.

"Valium Skies" is the kind of ready-made anthem that turned the Verve into a superstar in the first place, while "Appalachian Skies" and "I See Houses" are hard-hitting hybrids of emotion and virtuosity. Even more enticing are "Sit and Wonder" and the aptly named, eight-minute "Noise Epic," which reignite the psychedelic passions of the Verve's earliest releases.

"This definitely is an ongoing concern; it's not something that we're all just gonna chuck away again," bassist Simon Jones says. "Looking back I don't think we had to be so blunt and, 'Alright, we're splitting up!' really. We should've just chilled out for a bit and taken some time out, to be honest."