RPA and the United Nations of Sound - United Nations of Sound (3 stars)

RPA and the United Nations of Sound - United Nations of Sound

(Parlophone)

‘I wanna put you in my arms,’ warns sometime Verve shaman Richard Ashcroft, for the RPA of the title is he, on ‘Are You Ready?’, ‘and give you a love embrace.’ Following his old band’s only modestly successful comeback, Ashcroft remains enduringly wed to the kind of soundbite-heavy, watered-down psych pop that was all the rage in the 90s. Just listen to ‘Born Again’, their lyrics echoing like a cut’n’paste of Stone Roses song titles.

Yet the production of Kanye and Jay-Z producer No ID lends even Ashcroft’s familiar strings ‘n’ slide guitar template a new lease of life, and there are surprises here, for example the grinding blues of the sniggeringly titled ‘How Deep is Your Man’ and the Bill Withers emulating R’n’B of ‘Life Can Be So Beautiful’. His best solo work, certainly.

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