Richard Ashcroft releases new album, ‘Natural Rebel’
Ashcroft’s fifth solo album does not disappoint.
A combination of acoustic and electric guitars, an array of strings, and Ashcroft’s distinct vocals form a truly brilliant album, with a mix of really good songs, one of which is the single, ‘Surprised By The Joy’. However, the album opens with ‘All My Dreams’, a truly fantastic tune, which you can tell right from the first listen is going to be one that will be a fan favourite when Ashcroft takes this album on tour. It’s got a perfect, sing-along chorus, and the verses flow really smoothly, creating a perfect song for playing live and having tens of thousands of people scream back at you.
The album then continues onto ‘Birds Fly’, which to me is highly reminiscent of something from George Harrison’s catalogue in terms of guitar tone. This track is more on to dance to than scream at the top of your voice, but is one of the strongest songs on the album. It’s simple, and that really isn’t a bad thing, especially in the case of this song. The album then goes onto the previously released single, ‘Surprised By The Joy’, before going into a relaxing ‘That’s How Strong’.
After ‘That’s How Strong’, the albums picks up, as it goes into a more uplifting and energetic ‘Born To Be Strangers’. This song is really driven by the slightly overdriven, slightly bluesy electric guitar, which is accompanied by little guitar hooks, which really pull you into the atmosphere the song creates.
The remainder of the album follows suit, and showcases how much of a genius Ashcroft is. Although, track 7, ‘We All Bleed’ is a highlight of the album. The track is a jazzy, bluesy masterpiece, which settles the album down before going back into the big, singalong hits. The lyrics on this track are probably the best across the album. ‘Wear your heart on your sleeve, it’s okay, cause we all bleed’ is probably one of the best lines in a song for a very long time. Whilst the majority of this song is slow, and relaxed, it has the usual chorus that will really be something special to see live.
This album just shows how spectacular Richard Ashcroft is. His songwriting is pretty much second to none, and his voice truly is one of a kind. Ashcroft is one of the few who are keeping the British music scene alive, and ‘Natural Rebel’ has definitely pumped more life into the scene.