Ashcroft's sneeringly cocksure voice is in fine, mature form. But has he got anything...
Chris Jones 2002
After a lengthy hiatus, Ashcroft returns with his third album. Keys... contains songs written over six years showcasing Ashcroft's sneeringly cocksure voice in fine, mature form. But has he got anything to say?
He's undoubtedly right in his assumption that he was the template for swaggering Northern vocalists. Yet the anthemic quality of many of the tracks leaves you thinking of another northern testosterone-filled crooner: Robbie Williams. Single, "Break The Night With Colour" has all the tropes of his moving, yet vapid stadium-fillers.
"Sweet Brother Malcolm" and "World Keeps Turning" hint at depth, but it's too cliché-ridden to attain classic status. This is Verve-lite (the best track, "Music Is Power", is built around a Curtis Mayfield sample) - it's full of sound and fury, but not really saying much.