Recently, I heard The Verve’s reunion album which came out last year….It is pleasant and well-produced but sounds more like a Richard Ashcroft solo album than the combination of incendiary explosive semi-psychedelic guitar freak-outs and deeply moving no BS heartfelt ballads that made up the first three Verve albums especially their landmark URBAN HYMNS.
Most bands who re-unite do not produce anything that remotely matches their original time together….I understand why bands re-unite to tour as touring is the most lucrative part of the recording business especially if you are not a musical act that sells millions of copies of records but lightning very rarely strikes twice….Echo and the Bunnymen, The Go Betweens, The Byrds, The Small Faces, and Television are examples of very good bands the first time around whose reunion work proved to be sub-standard.
The Beatles and The Clash are examples of bands who successfully resisted the call to reunite and therefore did not besmirch their musical legacy….The Jam and The Smiths are bands that have so far resisted this call and I believe will continue to resist so good for Paul Weller and Morrissey.
Have there ever been any successful reunions? Well, I like everything Squeeze did when they reunited after breaking up for a few years in the mid 80’s but the truth is they hadn’t been broken up for very long when they got back together and that band has always been a vehicle for Chris Difford and Glen Tilbrook….Roxy Music did make one great album AVALON when they got back together but again they weren’t separated for that long and were largely the vehicle for Bryan Ferry at that point ….The Buzzcocks and The Posies, two bands with very simple deliveries and also dominating main personalities, did make some decent music when they reunited.
But overall the result is not as good as the first time around and often quite pathetic as older people stagger around the stage and the recording studio trying to repeat past glory (Pete Townsend, hello?).