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Album Review: The Charlatans – Modern Nature

2 min read

What would the 90s have been like without The Charlatans? It would have been like a jigsaw with one missing piece – the band is one that must be mentioned when you think of the greats of Brit Pop. Without The Charlatans the era seems incomplete, and they must be commended for sticking around where other less talented indie bands fell at the first or second hurdle. Through drug addiction, death and dismay, the boys have risen back to the top with new album Modern Nature, and look to the brighter side and find clarity rather than wallowing on the events of recent years.

charlatansWith the death of drummer Jon Brookes to a brain tumour a couple of years a go, the band appear to have rekindled their affection of warmth and virility. There is no better or healthier way of getting over the loss of a loved one than focusing on the good things in life, and that’s exactly what Modern Nature is all about. Drafting in a trio of drummers from high profile bands such as The Verve and New Order, the record is full of warmth and wonder. Talking in Tones feeds us in with a balmy and wistful intro; hidden melodies are brought to life with the evergreen vocals of lead singer Tim Burgess who is on form throughout the record. The simple bass on the track provides the rest, sounding as much 90s as it is late-era Doors.

So Oh brings us back to the present, but still unmistakeably Charlatans. 90s compatriots The Lighting Seeds can easily be cited here, and the whining guitar rises and falls throughout, creating a wave of hypnotic loveliness. Come Home Baby is almost Daft Punk without the electronics, whereas In the Tall Grass sounds like a chilled out House of the Rising Sun with a chorus that Ian Brown and his swagger would be proud of. This is all set against lyrics of typical Burgess nature: ‘the door was open, no introduction, I didn’t realise you came with instructions.’

Although the album does highlight the sounds of summer, I Need You To Know counteracts this with haunting tones and minor notes against a story of regret, helping remind the listener of the bands troubled past, and rather than feeling out of place, brings the record home to roost. Tim Burgess et al have looked deep inside themselves here, and the good things in life rise above the darkness.

Modern Nature is a warm memory of the best of the 90s, rolled out at a perfect time when current indie music is stale or too focused on being cool. It’s a love letter; it’s a lovely send off to their late drummer; and it’s a cracking return to form.