Written by James Crossan
The Charlatans have released their first studio album in 2 and a half years, Different Days, ahead of a manic summer of festivals and a live tour in the autumn. The four-piece indie band, hailing from Manchester, have been steadily releasing music for the last 20 years, despite falling out of the limelight. But this album could be one to take them back to the heights they hit in the mid to late 90s, as it has what their recent releases has lacked – stand out songs. Their 13th album could be considered unlucky for some, but Burgess and the boys are still flourishing 27 years since the release of their debut.
In fairness, the Charlatans have been criticised for their style – they rarely stray from the formula which has endeared them with fans, and this album is no different. It is similar to every other album the band has released. But, there is something about this album which endears itself a lot quicker than most of the albums released since platinum-certified Tellin’ Stories. Songs such as Let’s go Together and Plastic Machinery are instant bangers on first listen – they ooze quality which fans have grown to expect from the band.
Tim Burgess, frontman of The Charlatans, has been interacting with fans constantly over the bank holiday weekend about their reviews of the album and the band’s enjoyment at recording the album. He tweeted at midnight on Thursday (as it was released): “Different Days. We hope you like listening to it as much as we enjoyed recording it. From us, to you, with love x x”.
Perhaps most interesting about the album is that the band are yet to replace drummer Jon Brookes, who died from a brain tumour in 2013. Drummers Pete Salisbury (formerly of The Verve), Stephen Morris (New Order) and Donald Johnson (A Certain Ratio) helped out on the album, but it is far from percussion heavy – not at all a bad thing.
The band also turn to a couple of indie icons for their input on the album. Firstly, Jonny Marr of The Smiths appears on three songs to provide three guitar-laden products of pure class. Never Forgotten is a song which takes you back to an era where Manchester was on top of the music world, and could become a huge song given the right publicity. Also, legendary frontman of The Jam Paul Weller provides backing vocals for the final track on the album, Spinning Out.
The album was released on Friday, just before their historic gig alongside fellow Manchester bands, The Courteeners, Blossoms and Cabbage at Old Trafford Cricket Ground. Despite the difficulty indie bands have had in recent years regarding mainstream radio airplay and chart performances, The Charlatans could be celebrating very good album sales as this is an excellent addition to an already glittering discography.
Check out their single Plastic Machinery here: