I think I may have mentioned in the dim distant past that I’d never seen a bad Charlatans gig. I’ve also never heard a bad – or indifferent – Charlatans album.
And that doesn’t change with the release of Different Days. While Some Friendly caught the mood of the day, the latest long player is testament to their musical maturity. The hallmarks of a Charlatans release – 60s-tinged keyboards and Tim Burgess’ harmonious vocals – are augmented by a motley crew of guests.
The great and good of Manchester’s music scene contribute. New Order’s Stephen Morris programming features on seven tracks while Pete Salisbury (The Verve) and Donald Johnson (A Certain Ratio) also pick up the sticks following Jon Brookes untimely death in 2013.
Johnny Marr’s innovative guitar licks pervade the album while Paul Weller’s co-written Spinning Out, ends the album on a soulful note. The former Jam frontman’s current renaissance thanks to former Record of the Week, A Kind Revolution has seen him collaborate with The Stone Foundation on the outstanding Street Rituals, as well as featuring a former Lark on Jools Holland’s Later.
Stand out track is Not Forgotten, featuring Marr and Anton Newcombe (The Brian Jonestown Massacre), that like There Will Be Chances, revels in themes of the past underpinned by ‘baggy’ grooves.
The Charlatans, the Madchester generation’s Rolling Stones, replete with tragic and drug-fuelled past, bring together a sumptuous mix of the past and present in an outstanding collection.
You can buy Different Days here.