The Charlatans have reached a higher state of grace. Twenty-eight years since they first bagged a Number One album with ‘Some Friendly,’ they’re still achieving fresh career highs, dreaming up new music that redraws their own map, increasingly assured of who they are as a band.
Their trajectory has few parallels in British rock, and it has continued with the release of ‘Different Days,’ their brilliant 13th album, which finds them never more forward-looking, yet equally never more self-defining, or relevant. As Tim Burgess pointedly sings on one anthemically optimistic track called ‘There Will Be Chances,’ “I laughed when I thought about the past, a place I love, but I can’t go back – the present’s where it’s at”.
Just listening to ‘Different Days’ makes you feel like a positive force has entered your life – and this, in a year when, as the title implies, the political outlook has shifted dramatically, bringing unforeseen prejudice, anxiety and division across the world. Explains Tim, “To us, the album represents an upbeat view of a world that might well be falling apart, in a time where you have to work out who your friends are, and gather them around you.”
The Charlatans’ own ever-spiralling success has itself been a triumph over adversity. After losing not one but two members (to a car crash, and a brain tumour) in their rollercoaster history, this most resilient outfit have somehow soldiered onto greater heights – a people’s band, whose embattled mortal passage through life also mirrors our own.
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