NME (Magazine) - "[I]t's a huge relief to welcome back a brooding, babbling quote-machine such as Richard Ashcroft. He's slid back into the left-leaning folk rock world with this fifth solo album after six years cut off from the modern world of demanding smartphones and innocuous timeline fillers."
Clash (magazine) - "'This Is How It Feels' is quite pleasant, with its gently ascending melody..."
Audio Mixer: Chris Potter .
Recording information: Metropoli Studios; RPA Studio, Sugar Cane, Kore; The Potting Shed, Sphere.
Photographers: Kate Radley; Richard Ashcroft.
Six years after forming the United Nations of Sound -- a pseudo-group that lasted no more than a single record -- Richard Ashcroft pushes himself back into the spotlight on These People, a 2016 album that finds the former Verve singer reuniting with Wil Malone, an orchestrator who worked on Urban Hymns and Northern Soul. Malone's presence suggests These People may achieve a certain symphonic heft, yet Ashcroft sidesteps the churning psychedelia and progressive majesty of the Verve's prime. In its place, the singer/songwriter taps into a certain insouciant sophistication, favoring insistent arena anthems and finely tailored Eurodisco. Often, Ashcroft's intentions are apparent -- it's evident whenever he's following the blueprints of "Bittersweet Symphony" and "The Drugs Don't Work," just as it's clear that the dance beats and electronics are a bid for hip credibility -- but he winds up with sounds that aren't the ideal vehicle for whatever vague sociological protest Ashcroft attempts to mine here. If the music is separated from the message -- which is fairly easy to do, due to its slippery shimmer -- These People functions as a pleasing adult alternative record. True, it's an album that favors mood over form but after several somnolent solo records, not to mention the botched ambitions of the United Nations of Sound, the cool assurance and shiny veneer of These People is quite welcome. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine