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.
A pop music band from California in the sunshine pop genre, The Association are known for their tight vocal harmony. In the 1960s the group had numerous hits at or near the top of the Billboard charts…
Mama Kuku is the fifth and final Association P.C. recording (they were originally known as Association Earwax for two albums, and inexplicably changed their name). Led by guitarist Toto Blanke, this German supergroup stood outside the Krautrock and psychedelic camps and played their own fiery, non-academic brand of prog rock and jazz-rock fusion. The first half of this recording was performed at the Arkandenhof in June of 1973, and the final half, "Lausanne," at the Radio Suisse Romande during the same month.
… Admitting just a bare few hooks borrowed from past classics and boasting plenty of live playing by musicians he's actually hired (instead of licensed), David Holmes Presents the Free Association marks another challenge fulfilled for Holmes. If he occasionally bows to delivering a catchy, modernist sound instead of trying to make something truly timeless, he's at least supremely efficient at creating some of the most energetic, groovy music heard in a long time.