Since their 1990 debut single, the Charlatans (originally known in the United States as the Charlatans UK) have slowly evolved into one of the biggest rock bands in their native England. MELTING POT collects 17 of their singles and key album tracks from 1990-1997, illustrating the steady development of this hard-working, down-to-earth band. Early singles ("The Only One I Know," "Weirdo") borrow heavily from the Stone Roses, blending funky Manchester beats with Tim Burgess' trippy, laid-back vocals. The mighty Hammond organ playing of the late Rob Collins, however, set the Charlatans apart from the countless Stone Roses-inspired UK bands of the '90s.Although the Charlatans moved away from such influences with each successive album, their sound has remained fairly consistent for close to a decade. Some of the many highlights collected on MELTING POP include the Chemical Brothers remix of "Patrol" and such loose-grooved college radio hits as "Can't Get Out Of Bed" and "Just Looking." While the Charlatans have never been innovators, they are a solid, entertaining band. The final track, a catchy fusion of Dylan and the Stones called "North Country Boy," suggests that they may be ready to take their music to the next level.
The Charlatans are the sole survivors of the Madchester boom, and Melting Pot
commemorates this, a 17 track "Best of" running from 1990 to 1997. It's chronological tracklist let's you follow their development, beginning with the wonderful wah-wah and hammond organ psychedelia of "The Only One I Know" (a shame "Indian Rope" wasn't included, too). Back then you could call The Charlatans endearing: Tim Burgess' vocals were fragile, the guitars chiming in that peculiarly, shambling English indie way. Rather than fading away like their peers, on Melting Pot
you hear The Charlatans' sound get stronger and better over the years. It switches up a gear with the Flood-produced, rockier "Weirdo" era and the magnificent Chemical Brothers
"Patrol" mix and swells into awesome bluesy, Rolling Stones
-style anthems under Steve Hillage's direction in 1994. By the album's end, their confidence is brimming over and, with Byrds
-esque guitar, they¹re producing proper kick ass rock & roll. A celebration of growing up in public. --Sarah Champion