Us And Us Only

Once,[B] The Charlatans[/B] were arrested on a plane for enjoying themselves and the FBI confiscated their shoelaces....

Once, The Charlatans were arrested on a plane for enjoying themselves and the FBI confiscated their shoelaces. “I thought, ‘Maybe they think we’ll hang ourselves,’” balked Tim Burgess at the time. “I wouldn’t hang meself, you can’t put a downer on me!”

Today, despite everything (latest Charlies Voodoo Conundrum, being robbed of #300,000 by their accountant), there remains in Tim‘s soul an 11-year-old optimism sprite who lives by the rule: “That which doesn’t kill us, and even when it does, makes the music an even BIGGER life-snortin’ panorama of vibe-jewelled reasons to live-it-like-you-love- it-and-have-you-heard-the -state-of-Ian-Brown’s-‘music’ -lately-HA-HA” etc. ‘Us And Us Only’, The Charlatans‘ sixth LP (their first on a major label) is the sound of a band completing their long-promised mission to obliterate, forever, their indie status by entering the widescreen wonderland of eternal Rock’n’Roll Class.

And everything else is love, soul and The Charlatans‘ Big-Sound-Band celebrating their fully-burgeoned musicianly might (even if they do include some unfathomable tribute to Bjvrk’s ‘Venus As A Boy’ via the two-part Tinkerbell weird-out ‘Good Witch/Bad Witch’). Overwhelmingly, though, it’s The Charlatans‘ power-tuned, grown-up album of greats; the Stonesy licks of ‘A House Is Not A Home’, clop-along country corker ‘My Beautiful Friend’; the Verve-sized ‘Senses’, featuring Tim almost literally crying, “You’re my sweet black angel laughing on my shoulder…” (possibly about late keyboardist Rob Collins) and their most complete redemption song yet, the violin-quavered, bliss-rock stunner ‘The Blind Stagger’: “You will go the whole distance, while the blind stagger…” BLUB.

Only half of Tim Burgess is an 11-year-old boy, the other half’s a 32-year-old man of the world and this is his rock’n’roll soul band’s postcard from the leapt-off ledge of past pain into present ecstasy and peace in their land-mined lifetimes. Their good-luck years begin now. Definitely. Er, maybe. Or at least, as is The Charlatans‘ way, hopefully.