It’s been 19 years since the release of The Verve’s seminal ‘Urban Hymns’ and almost a decade since the band climbed back on the wagon and played a clutch of reunion shows, but still, Richard Ashcroft has kept his Britpop past close. His most recent solo endeavour (2010’s hip-hop tinged, critically-savaged ‘United Nations of Sound’) was a sonic departure for the Wigan singer, who disappeared from view in the intervening years. But here, on ‘These People’, is a more familiar sounding Ashcroft.

The LP teems with the sweeping strings and emotional lyrics from those omnipresent 90s albums. The most obvious callback to that era comes on the country-tinged ‘They Don’t Own Me’, and album highlight ‘Ain’t the Future So Bright’; an intimate, piano-led track that sees Ashcroft at his vulnerable best.

When he’s sounding familiar, that’s when his songwriting is at its strongest. There are odd moments where he tries to explore (slightly) new territory. A handful of the album’s songs feature a slew of synths. Lead single ‘This is How it Feels’ combines acoustic and electronic effectively enough, but this is the exception rather than the rule. Album opener ‘Out of My Body’ and second single ‘Hold On’ are hindered rather than helped by their electronic interjections.

In a rapidly changing industry, artists who don’t experiment get left behind, or rapped on the knuckles for not doing so – ironically, in Ashcroft’s case it’s his attempts to move forward that makes ‘These People’, at moments, sound dated, and the songs that emphasise electronica have more in common with the club tracks of the early 00s than with anything filling dancefloors today.

While his attempts to change in parts are admirable, on ‘These People’ it’s the tried and tested Ashcroft traits that work best.