2015 marks the 25th anniversary of The Charlatans as a recording concern. Those wishing to pause and scratch their heads in disbelief at that fact could do worse than do so while listening to the band’s new album, which stands comparison with their best work.
Since emerging to fill the need for a poppier Stone Roses in 1990, The Charlatans have never quite delivered the masterwork they have always promised.
The public have stuck by them, though – partly due to a series of cracking singles and partly out of loyalty to a band who have had more than their fair share of heartbreak, losing two members in keyboardist Rob Collins (car crash, 1996) and drummer Jon Brookes (brain tumour, 2013).
Modern Nature is not quite a masterpiece, but it is a better and happier record than we had any right to expect.
It’s undefinable; the heavy indie dance of opener Talking in Tones and closer Lot to Say could sit comfortably on their debut, others betray a strong Northern Soul influence, while the group demonstrate their mastery of Doves-like dance rock on the brilliant So Oh. Tim Burgess’ vocals are exceptional throughout and the band have never sounded better: relaxed and laid back when they need to be and frenetic but in control elsewhere.
More than anything, Modern Nature is the sound of the band enjoying themselves.
Like this? Try these: Bombay Bicycle Club, So Long, See You Tomorrow; Ride, OX4
By Andrew Greenhalgh