With barely a year behind them, The Charlatans show they can crank out albums consistently without ever losing too much in the rush. By narrowing their scope down to a few tracks, the Charlatans have detailed and focused music that is brimming with great sounds and melodies. If anything, they start out so strong with their title-track however that the rest of the album suffers a little by comparison.
Through a flurry of riffs and amazing tone, “Totally Eclipsing” is the Charlatans at their sharp pop best. The track moves through heavy phases with much more character than you often get in a track this guitar-driven. With a human story anchoring the track Burgess and his band-mates keep things tight and fun to let the sound be just as much a part of the track as the actual words around it. The track’s heavy sense of momentum and seemingly perfect timing between sections makes for a listen that never grows old from start to finish. As it opens up to strange flute hooks, it even comes down hard and louder than ever for its final chorus.
With a much deeper and filtered spirit, “Standing Alone” is a strangely cold but preppy track for the band that doesn’t play out as you’d imagine. The weird production keeps its rather sunny writing feeling strange and intriguing, and allows the song to feel fun without being too contrived. Perhaps the diving and exploratory synth bridge can feel a little too indulgent but it also shows just how far the Charlatans are willing to stretch themselves. Though it doesn’t switch things up quite as much, it’s still a memorable pop track that will keep you moving.
The Charlatans get heavy and rhythmic on “Indefinitely” as they mix an intoxicating rhythm section with glistening riffs. Though the band keep a much more somber and dark Brit-pop vibe throughout the track, the lush details make you want to empathize with them. In the choruses fairly simple hook, there’s something beautifully charming to their wordplay and one that helps the track feel more contagious than off-putting. Even the synths slowly take over the track in its later half, to create a dense and heavy song pushes its initial warm feelings into deeper emotions.
“Hopelessly Hoping” rides a more subdued groove and ambient guitar work, while the band riffs off in the background. Though there’s a really trippy energy to the whole sound of the song, it’s catchy writing steals the show throughout the choruses. This allows the verses to be a more searching moment of any part of the track, as a barrage of electronic sound build and veer repeatedly. Despite its strong sonic work however, it’s compositionally a little subpar to the rest of the album.
Words by Owen Maxwell
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