I made the mistake of reading the reviews or this album, rather than just buying it, which is what I've done with all the Charlatan's previous releases. It's fair to say that as a band they have always attracted 'mixed reviews', but this album seems to have received a particular mauling!
As below, it was heavilly criticised for having a reggae feel to some of the tracks, which I think is incorrect. Ska would be a lot more accurate, a few songs have something of The Specials, Madness, etc. about them, but still sound like the Charlatans, unlike lesser bands such as the Ordinary Boys and to a lesser degree Hard-Fi, who just sound like these bands!
The album probaly opens with one of the best tracks and lead single, Blackened Blue Eyes and moves on through songs, some of which are reminiscent of the last few albums, Up At The Lake and Wonderland in particular and some in the new style, as described above.
Highlights for me include For Your Entertainment, Muddy Ground, The Architect and the instrumental album closer Sunset And Vine, but the whole album flows well, which demands repeated listening and the 45 mins are up fairly quickly, it feels.
Overall then, another fresh, consistent album from one of the best bands, if not the most uner-rated, of the 90's and onwards. For those more open-minded individuals, I'd also recommend checking out Tim Burgess' solo album, I Beleive, traces of which can be heard in this album and to a greater degree, Up At The Lake, it's really quite excellent...