The Charlatans – Who We Touch
Baggy survivors The Charlatans are back with their eleventh long-player. Once praised as a fine excuse to roll out the monkey-shuffling indie dance moves and have a laugh, those days have long gone – buried, as far as opener and single Love is Ending is concerned, behind garage-rock style guitars and serious lyrical concerns. Burgess and co give it a good go but they can’t pull it off; where once they shimmied and belted silly big-hearted choruses, now they only plod.
Foolish Pride maybe a pleasant enough piece of guitar whimsy but the darker numbers serve only to highlight Burgess’ almost criminally nasal voice. When he sings Smash the System, you wonder if he’s got the will to break an obstinate Hobnob, never mind challenge capitalist hegemony. Who We Touch reeks of melancholy, but like the cape Burgess is seen wearing in the Love is Ending video, it just doesn’t fit. I mean, north country boy, what are you sad about, really? [PJ Meiklem]
Playing HMV Picture House, Edinburgh on 8 Oct and Fat Sam's, Dundee on 9 Oct.http://www.thecharlatans.net