THE CHARLATANS

The in­de­struc­tible four-piece re­main de­fi­antly up­beat on their 13th al­bum.

Q (UK) - - Contents -

THE AL­BUM’S MES­SAGE IS CLEAR: CHOOSE FRIEND­SHIP OVER BIGOTRY, ISOLATIONSIM AND MONETARIST LU­NACY.

THE CHARLATANS DIF­FER­ENT DAYS BMG, OUT 26 MAY

A golden fu­ture might not have been read­ily pre­dicted dur­ing The Charlatans’ drug-hoover­ing mid-’ 90s pomp, as gru­ellingly chron­i­cled in the “co­cai­nus” pas­sages of front­man Tim Burgess’s au­to­bi­og­ra­phy. Yet, this in­de­struc­tible combo have shrugged off he­do­nism and be­reave­ment to de­liver, uniquely among their baggy/Brit­pop peers, an un­in­ter­rupted se­quence of top-rate al­bums, which have con­tin­ued to ex­pand both their cre­ative pa­ram­e­ters and their fan­base. If Dif­fer­ent Days feels re­mark­ably fresh, con­tem­po­rary and up­beat for a band’s 13th stu­dio al­bum, it’s all about The Charlatans get­ting on the good foot in re­sponse to Trump and Brexit. To that end, they con­vened a stel­lar cast of ami­gos in­clud­ing Johnny Marr, Paul Weller and Brian Jon­estown Mas­sacre’s An­ton New­combe, with a clear, im­plicit mes­sage: choose friend­ship over bigotry, iso­la­tion­ism and monetarist lu­nacy. The three Marr tracks are par­tic­u­larly fan­tas­tic: on Plas­tic Ma­chin­ery, the cur­rently post­punk-fix­ated ex-Smiths gui­tarist even re­vis­its the disco-fied majesty of his Elec­tronic years.

The key col­lab­o­ra­tor, though, is New Order’s Stephen Mor­ris, whose synth/pro­gram­ming wiz­ardry across seven tracks helps per­fect a hi-tech strand to a Charlatans sound ini­ti­ated on 2008’ s You Cross My Path. Dif­fer­ent Days, though, is em­phat­i­cally their own al­bum: the whole guest thing is in­clu­sive, not in­tru­sive. Burgess is on fire, salut­ing the day on Hey Sun­rise, of­fer­ing Zen wis­dom on There Will Be Chances, even lead­ing an Italia ’ 90 dance­floor charge on pi­ano-pound­ing The Same House. As Spin­ning Out, the Weller co-write, exquisitely closes pro­ceed­ings in the vein of blissed­out ’ 70s Chicago soul, this won­drous record feels ev­ery inch the cul­tural shot in the arm that all left-lean­ing al­trock­ers des­per­ately need just now. HHHH Lis­ten To: Dif­fer­ent Days | Plas­tic Ma­chin­ery | The Same House

The Charlatans: “ex­pand­ing both their cre­ative pa­ram­e­ters and their fan­base.”

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