Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Album Review: Charlatans

Album review: The Charlatans 'You Cross My Path'

A few years back, watching the Charlatans at T in the Park, I turned round to my mate and said ' You know, I bet they'll even outlast Blur.' As it happens, this is true. Veterans of both Baggy and Britpop, while some of their contemporaries have even reformed (Happy Mondays and Inspiral Carpets), the Charlatans have survived a well-documented hell of a lot since the release of their first single 'indian Rope' back in 1990.

And now their tenth album You Cross My Path joins us. Alan McGee is telling anyone who'll listen (that's still quite a lot of us, actually) that it's their best since 1997's Telling Stories. It comes as the first album on the elephant's graveyard, sorry, long-running indie label that is Cooking Vinyl, and until it is released in May is available FREE via XFM (see link below).

Right. Phew. statutory reference to survivor/longevity status and the download availability out of the way. So, is the album actually any good? Well, I don't know that I would go so far as to agree with Alan McGee, but then my favourite album is 2001's Wonderland. But it is another excellent collection of songs and it stands well against many of their other releases, and certainly heads high above both Between Ten and 11th and Us and Us Only. Opener 'Oh! Vanity' periodically threatens to go into Abba's Arrival mixed with Big Country but holds it together well. The title track still sounds great (and indeed made the 17 Seconds Festive Fifty last year).

The tunes work well together, and whilst they don't break any new ground, this should still bring a smile to the faces of their fans, though I wonder if some of the tracks will work better live. The production is a little lightweight, compared to some earlier albums, but it mercifully is not too slick. As more acts go down the download route, why not judge for yourselves?


Download the Charlatans' new album for free here

It will be released on Cooking Vinyl in May.

The Charlatans' official site is here

Their Myspace is here

UPDATE: March 8: Anyone who thinks this move is commercial suicide might be interested to read this


euantrampoline said...

I have to agree - my favourite album was also Wonderland and had felt a little disappointed with the albums that had followed since. mmm, sure my wife will want to check this out.

So It Goes said...

Thanks for the heads up, Ed: it's unlikely the band's stuff will ever find its way across the water to here, so a free sample is most welcome (and very generous, I should say).

Anonymous said...

Helklo, i'm back, house hunting is time consuming, download 6 of the songs from the album, gotta say they've definatly taken their stone roses obsession to new heights in places, but is that necessarily a bad thing?
for the record, i hate estate agents

Ed said...

Euan -liked up at the lake but not as much as Wonderland

sig - hope you like it! free is quite often good... : )

A.J. -Think all ten tracks are worth hearing, definitely a Stone Roses thing going on, (still, after all this time -but how much did Liam gallagher nick off Tim Burgess?)


Anonymous said...

enough with the Roses comparisons, please! There's more soul and heart in one Charlatans album, yes, even Simpatico, than in the combined output of the Roses; this is from someone who adored the Roses, but loves the Charlatans. Listen to free download and find out how much of a Roses vibe there is; 'This is the End', but only in the opening guitar pick, and even then I'd argue that that's an unfuzzed up 'Crashin' In' intro.

Ed said...

The Charlatans are certainly more than Stone Roses clones, and Wonderland and Up at the lake definitely confirm this.


Anonymous said...

. . . is everyone afraid to say this album is crap? . . come on! It is boring. It sounds lazy. Nothing original. Soul, what soul? Sounds like they were half hearted at best in making this album. I guess you get what you pay for is all I can say? Thanks for the free download. PS. The Charlatans have been one of my favorite bands of all time. Just disappointed. J.C.