The Charlatans: Different Days review – their best album in 20 years


The Charlatans have endured two members’ deaths and a breakdown. Such upheavals have wrought resilience, reflection and subtle metamorphosis. Here, guest drummers (ex-Verve man Pete Salisbury, New Order’s Stephen Morris – who also programmes – and A Certain Ratio’s Donald Johnson) bring a different funk. Other contributors include the Smiths’ Johnny Marr (guitar on three tracks) and crime novelist Ian Rankin (spoken word). Paul Weller donates some of his best music for the soulful Spinning Out, while elsewhere there are musical echoes of New Order and Love.

However, the Charlatans’ 13th album is grounded on the band’s own indestructible chemistry, Tim Burgess’s exquisitely happy-sad vocals and their ability to juggle melancholy and joy into exhilarating pop songs. Solutions and the title track have hooks in abundance. Plastic Machinery salutes individuality in an authoritarian world. Not Forgotten and There Will Be Chances capture beautifully a sense of progress through remembrance, the beating heart of the band’s finest effort since 1996’s Telling Stories.


Dave Simpson

The GuardianTramp

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