Ranking our favourite albums from The Charlatans!
Some may call them baggy survivors, some may call them britpop survivors. I just call them a damn fine band who have continued to write great tunes over the last 30 years. Survivors is probably the right description though. In July 1996 just three weeks before they would support Oasis at their huge Knebworth gigs they would lose original keyboard player Rob Collins as a result of a tragic car accident.
Further heartbreak would occur in 2013 when original drummer Jon Brookes would pass away following a brain tumour at just 44 years of age. The Charlatans would once again show their resilience and in Tim Burgess they have one of the most recognisable front men in the business.
A successful solo artist, author and record label owner Tim in his time has also found time to collaborate with The Chemical Brothers as well as having his own brand of coffee. I could write an article in itself detailing his achievements. With The Charlatans he has also found time to record 13 studio albums. So based on this how does each album rank?
13) Simpatico (2006)
A monster of a lead single with “Blackened Blue Eyes“. However, this album has been accused of being too experimental for some and has a reggae influence with “City Of The Dead“. Highlight for me is the disco groove of “NYC (There’s No Need To Stop)“.
12) You Cross My Path (2008)
At this stage of their career they were definitely going through a New Order vibe. As would be the norm they start the album with a colossal opener “Oh! Vanity“. There’s some strong tunes but I feel the album lacks the memorable anthems of other releases.
11) Who We Touch (2010)
“My Foolish Pride” is a sweet ballad and “Your Pure Soul” is beautifully low-key. There’s more low-key electronic beauty with “Sincerity” Like ” You Cross My Path” two years earlier it’s not an album that will spawn the brash britpop anthems but it’s still a belting listen.
10) Wonderland (2001)
Tim does falsetto. Their first album of the new millennium “Wonderland” still sees the boys embracing their influences. “You’re So Pretty, We’re So Pretty” is funky, “Love Is The Key” is a catchy first single. Album highlight “And If I Fall” could be described as beautiful electronic balladry.
9) Modern Nature (2015)
After the low-key feel of the two previous albums “Who We Touch” and “You Cross My Path” this record sees the band doing what they do best. “Let the Good Times Be Never Ending” and “So Oh” will have you humming after one listen. Their most catchy album in a decade.
8) Different Days (2017)
Carrying on the momentum of previous album “Modern Nature” they acquired heavyweight help in the name of Johnny Marr amongst others for this one. For me it’s not as immediate as the previous effort but the title track and “Plastic Machinery” show everything that is the classic Charlies sound.
7) Up To Our Hips (1994)
Probably the first album that sees The Charlatans going in the direction of a straight ahead guitar band after the baggy feel of earlier releases. Unfortunately it was also missing the powerhouse keyboards of Rob Collins. Probably a darker album than the first two but still spawned indie classics “Can’t Get Out Of Bed“, “Jesus Hairdo” and “I Never Want An Easy Life“.
6) Between 10th and 11th (1992)
The follow up record to the classic debut “Some Friendly”. It says a lot about the quality of the bands output that this album is described as solid but unspectacular. It’s a change in direction to the debut and “Weirdo” is still a live favourite to this day.
5) Up At The Lake (2004)
I know some people would rank this lower but for me it’s a banger from start to finish. The title track is a breezy opener, “Try Again Today” and “As I Watch You In Disbelief” will put you in a good mood after one listen. “Loving You Is Easy” is beautiful.
4) The Charlatans (1995)
By the time of this release the band were definitely firing on all cylinders .”Nine Acre Court” is a lush instrumental opener, “Just Lookin” is catchy indie goodness and “Crashin In” has memorable hypnotic guitar riffs. It says it all about the quality of this album that the songs mentioned above are of the same consistent standard as the rest of the record.
3) Us And Us Only (1999)
You would think the follow up to an era defining album two years previously would see them struggle under the pressure but this is The Charlatans we are speaking of here. Tim continues to wear his Dylan influences on his sleeve and the album is swirling psychedelic rock. “Forever” is an epic opener and “A House Is Not A Home” hooks you in with the melody.
Think of The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan and you’ll get the general idea.
2) Some Friendly (1990)
“Madchester” at it’s very best and one of the most important albums of that era. “The Only One I Know” and “Then” are indie classics which still sound fresh today and “Sproston Green” has been their gig closer for years. Start to finish it defines the madchester vibe.
1) Tellin’ Stories (1997)
A sign of the bands enduring durability and appeal that this was the first album to be released after the untimely death of keyboard player Rob Collins. A commercial and critical success and every song is a highlight. “With No Shoes” kicks the album off in euphoric fashion. The four singles “One To Another“, “Tellin Stories“, “How High” and “North Country Boy” are indie perfection. “You’re A Big Girl Now” continues the Dylan influence. It’s quite simply one of the best british guitar albums of the 1990s. The album finishes with an instrumental fittingly titled “Robs Theme“.
Born in Manchester, live now around Heaton Moor. A football, boxing and snooker fan and support Manchester City(even before the glory days)
A big fan of gigs, music and all that come with it. I used to write for a boxing website and have previously worked for Music Zone, a job that involved listening to new releases, speaking to labels and keeping the schedule updated.