One of Wigan’s best-known musicians has confirmed his fourth solo album will be out later this year.
Richard Ashcroft, the former frontman with best-selling indie act The Verve, will release These People through his own record label in May.
Though the enigmatic musician is typically giving little away, fans have been given a preview of what to expect with the release of first single This Is How It Feels.
Ashcroft, from Up Holland, is releasing his first solo effort in six years and has teamed up with producer and longtime collaborator Chris Potter.
He is also returning to working with Wil Malone, who helped Ashcroft pen the string arrangements on The Verve’s successful albums A Northern Soul and Urban Hymns as well as his 2000 debut album as a solo artist Alone with Everybody.
Fans can hear This Is How It Feels online and also get a copy of the track if they pre-order the album, which will also be available through Cooking Vinyl Records.
Reaction so far suggests the album channels Ashcroft’s classic output while adventurous new sounds, textures and themes, with a statement which has appeared online appearing to confirm this.
However, fans should also feel right at home with the new tracks as Ashcroft’s voice is sill one of the most distinctive.
The statement suggests the new album may have a darker tone than previous efforts, with Ashcroft saying he wrote it during a “sick nihilistic age of war” and saying the turns both global and personal events have recently taken led to an urgency in his songwriting and a clearing of his mind.
It also suggests some of the songs on These People have been influenced by a series of live appearances Ashcroft last year, especially a solo show in front of 30,000 people at the Corona Capital Festival in November.
The former Winstanley College student became one of Wigan’s most famous musical exports when The Verve rocketed to the top of the ’90s alternative music scene with hits like Bittersweet Symphony and The Drugs Don’t Work.
He first emerged as a solo artist before The Verve finally called it a day in 2010, with his debut album on his own going platinum in 2000.
These People is out on May 20. This Is How It Feels is available to hear now online.