United Nations Of Sound
Label: Razor & Tie
Ex-Verve frontman Richard Ashcroft has kept the same Rock God persona and knack for un-ironic anthems well into his often rewarding solo career. Ashcroft collaborates with hip-hop producer No ID and a host of classic soul sidemen and arrangers. The results work partly because Ashcroft can't help being Ashcroft -- this feels more like a sober Jim Morrison throwing beats behind The Stones than it does anything on the Motown, Stax or Philly International labels. That said, Ashcroft's vocals on "Life Can Be So Beautiful" do sound a bit too close to those on Cheech & Chong's "Basketball Jones."