1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A Curate's Egg,
This review is from: Simpatico (Audio CD)
Sixteen years as a band and with nine studio albums completed, The Charlatans have found themselves in the challenging territory on their latter albums of needing to innovate or die. This requirement has been more successful on certain albums (e.g. "Wonderland") than on others (e.g. "Up at the Lake").
One game that has been played with these latter albums has been "spot the influences" - from Bob Dylan to Curtis Mayfield. Indeed, the band themselves namecheck The Clash and LCD Soundsystem as being inspirational bands for this album. However, any fan of The Specials will also instantly recognise their ska sound on "City of the Dead".
Overall, the album is a mix of sounds and themes. The classic Charlatans sound is there on tracks such as "Blackened Blue Eyes", "Architect" and the instrumental "Sunset and Vine". Also well worth checking out are "For Your Entertainment" and "Muddy Ground", both of which are dark but mellow songs.
There are also two thematically different songs dedicated to New York and London. The first - "NYC (No Need to Stop)" - is a celebration of the energy of that city. Its catchy enough, if not particularly memorable. The other - "When the Lights Go Out in London" - is far more downbeat and follows the terrorist bombings in the city in 2005.
Less successful are "Dead Man's Eye" "City of the Dead", and "Glory Glory", which do reduce the overall quality of the album.
In all, well worth buying as a Charlatans fan, which I definitely am. However, its not their best work. Try "Tellin' Stories" or "Us and Us Only" instead if you are new to the band.