United Nations of Sound

Studio Album by released in 2010
United Nations of Sound's tracklist:
Are You Ready
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Born Again
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America
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This Thing Called Life
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Beatitudes
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Good Loving
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How Deep Is Your Man
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She Brings Me the Music
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Royal Highness
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Glory
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Life Can Be So Beautiful
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Let My Soul Rest
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United Nations of Sound review

New Richard Ashcroft’s project

Richard Paul Ashcroft (RPA) was the vocalist and founder of the band The Verve whose peak of fame was in the late 1997. Ashcroft has been recording solo albums since 2000 for the internal conflicts in the band did not allow it to go further. Releasing three successful records he made a short truce with The Verve musicians, and last year their last work Forth was released. The group disbanded soon afterwards for the third time, which was obviously the definitive one: the guitarist and the bassist stated that Richard recorded that record only to draw the attention to his solo creative work. Anyway, Ashcroft did not argue with them but found new musicians from Los-Angeles and formed a new band RPA & The United Nations Of Sound – its debut album United Nations Of Sound is released this July already. Perhaps the artist has not yet managed to retain his former fame, but he has definitely proved that he still can surprise, write interesting lyrics and render emotions in his singing.

An almost conceptual album United Nations Of Sound

The album United Nations Of Sound, lasting almost an hour, contains 12 tracks and can be well called conceptual, though, with two concepts at once – life and music, Richard Ashcroft’s favorite themes. Musically this is a melodious, fertile collection, and RPA & The United Nations Of Sound absolutely does not disappoint in this respect. The very first violin sounds on the opener Are You Ready? make one unwillingly think of Bitter Sweet Symphony, though, they are not that contagious here, but still adding charm to the song. Track Born Again is one of the most vivid and energetic on the album: a sing-along chorus, very effective guitars and a solo at the end – all of it makes the song the first contender to become a hit. An unexpected hip-hop beat refines the composition America on which Richard sings about living at the other side of the Atlantic, whereas he invites everybody to live in a plangent manner on This Thing Called Life repeating the chorus several times. Beatitudes is a number built around a female voice sample against which Ashcroft is sharing his philosophic ideas, and the song How Deep Is Your Man? is refined by some blues elements adding new colors into the album’s entire picture. The ballad She Brings Me The Music demonstrates the way the musician sees love – it always associates with music for him. The theme of life is once again touched upon on Life Can Be So Beautiful, again with a hip-hop bit and Ashcroft’s falsetto. The album closes with a solemn composition Let My Soul Rest on which the artist emotionally describes his brightest memories against the background of a soulful orchestra arrangement.

The arrangements are still at a high level

The project RPA & The United Nations Of Sound’s debut album turns out to be a logic continuation of The Verve’s disbanding. What Ashcroft was writing about at the end of the last century has now reached its apogee sometimes bordering with pathos, sometimes with irony. It is hard to say whether the vocalist himself is taking his lyrics seriously, but judging by all, after all his problems with alcohol and drugs abuse, after his rises and especially falls, he surely wants his music to make sense for his listeners. Yet, his philosophy is not too deep, it is constructed on simple observations joined with mythology, his thoughts about the endlessness of the universe and the life’s inevitable coming to an end. You will find almost no introspection on this album or any expression of deep fears, but it contains enough of claiming for witticism and some narcissism symptoms. Nevertheless the fans will definitely find many interesting compositions on United Nations Of Sound. Besides their instrumental background undoubtedly deserves praise for Ashcroft is well aware of which instruments fit his voice best and keeps the arrangement quality level high which cannot but please.