The Verve's Bitter Sweet Symphony

September 5 [14:30 EDT] -- It looked grim for a while, but The Verve has been resuscitated after "imploding" back in August, 1995.

The band had just finished a successful T-in-the-Park festival appearance in Britain when vocalist Richard Ashcroft announced he was quitting ("It doesn't feel right anymore," was his only comment) and promptly left for an extended camping trip. The band had been about to go on tour with best buddies Oasis.

Now, two years later, the Verve is back with a new album, and a potential and they're yet again poised to join Oasis, opening shows at Earl's Court in London in late September.

The Verve first re-emerged early this summer in England with a single, "Bitter Sweet Symphony," which has already chalked up sales of 300,000. A second single, "Drugs Don't Work," is due in September with the album, "Urban Hymns," scheduled a month or so later. The band was scheduled for a short tour of Britain in June but had to postpone when, according to

the band, Ashcroft came down with a viral infection. They made up the dates in August.

Ashcroft, original guitarist Nick McCabe (who had quit just prior to Ashcroft; his replacement, Simon Tong, is remaining with the reformed band making it a five-piece), bassist Simon Jones and drummer Peter Salisbury were initially Wigan schoolmates.

They formed "Verve" circa 1990. A few years later, the Verve jazz record label forced them to add a 'The' to their name. The Verve signed to Hut Records in England and began issuing singles in 1992: "All in Mind," "She's A Superstar" and "Gravity Grave" all topped the independent charts. They toured with the Black Crowes, released another single, "Blue" in May of '93 then debuted their first album, "A Storm In Heaven," in June. The single 'Slide Away' made an impact in the States. The Verve was asked to play the 1994 Lollapalooza.

They released a second album in mid-1995, "A Northern Soul", which sold more copies in one month than its

predecessor had in total. Things were looking good. Recording that project, though, was rumored to be as personally frantic as the final product. But then, ironically, just as the single "History," was due out, the band disintegrated.

Three months later, Ashcroft announced he was forming another band with Salisbury and Jones, together with three new members, including Tong, but after juggling several members (including former Suede guitarist Bernard Butler) and various producers, they packed it in. Earlier this year McCabe rejoined Ashcroft (reportedly after the latter's psychic advisor instructed him to re-enlist the guitarist's services).

It remains to be seen if the band can remain intact, but if they do, look for them in your neighborhood -- the band does intend to tour.