Having survived their fair share of downfalls and dud releases throughout the years as well as the death of keyboardist Rob Collins in the nineties, The Charlatans are an indie spectacle that are still able to make anthemic and credible records after a career covering over 20 years.
Though the days of number one singles and award winning records were reserved for the bands earlier nineties Brit-pop heyday, new album Who We Touch, which sees its release this week, is a step in the right direction as the band unleash a collection of well crafted and nostalgic gems.
Love Is Ending starts the record on a slightly Dandy Warhol-ish note. Fronting the record as lead single, the song comes crashing in as soon as the play button is pressed and immediately you are reminded of a youthful garage band blasting away at their instruments with angst and energy. The track is quite catchy, a plus for an opening number because immediately you are hooked to the sounds of a band who have been around for over two decades yet still hold on to the youthful vibe that got them recognized as one of Britain’s indie greats in the late eighties.
Your Pure Soul is the albums early zenith. Opening with a light acoustic strumming and building up to an bouncy singalong, it ropes your attention in right from the songs opening chord. The filling of synth build over a backbone of infectious and melodic verses and the occasional eighties inspired key tinkerings help make this one an amazing addition within the record.
Smash the System sways from a calm and collected indie jam to an aggressive and rebellious reminder of days of old. This is a winner in the eyes of the old school Charlatans followers who relish in the bands angst offerings while Oh offers a little jazz infusion creating another standout on the record with some memorable piano melodies and haunting chorus humming swaying with Berguss’ melancholic vocals.
Intimacy is a slow toe tapper with a sedate beat that brings the records energy down a little with a subdued mid section of balladry. Twisting through five minutes of serene and compassionate vocals it does slightly grind on you by the end with its repetitive chorus.
Sincerity follows and pulls you back into the arena proving to be the epicenter of the record with an infectious throb to Who We Touch. Definitely the heart to the record, its chorus is charming and also haunting in its offering while the bands backing vocals throughout the bridge chant and holler in true punk style. A cool six minutes of superb indie at its best.
The production of Who We Touch is right on the mark. These guys have been in the game long enough to know what works and they focus on that through every song featured on the record. The bands knack at pulling together songs packed full of spritely and arduous riffs with front man Tim Burgess’ almost juvenile vocals give this band the one up amongst so many acts on the scene attempting to replicate the Charlatans success.
The band have had an impressive career. One of the few bands to have survived the decline of the Brit-pop era, Who We Touch see the Charlatans with an eleventh record to call their own. And what a record it is. An impressive addition to an already prodigious catalogue spanning 22 years.
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