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Customer Review

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Charlatan`s best yet!, 15 Dec 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Wonderland (Audio CD)
For many Charlatans fans, a change of direction will be a scary thing. Will it be as good as their previous efforts? When they`ve spent such a successful ten years making their trademark catchy indie brit-pop, why change now? Well the truth is, "Wonderland" is as good as anything the Charlatans have ever done. In fact, it is their most consistantly brilliant album to date.
It all kicks off with "You`re So Pretty, We`re So Pretty", an incredibly strong opener, which sounds like nothing the Charlatans have ever done. From this moment, it`s obvious that "Wonderland" is going to be a very different album from it`s Dylan-esque predesessor "Us And Us Only", only if this is anything to go by, New Charlatans is clearly a step in the right direction.
Then comes "Judas", a catchy little number, which, whilst not been one of the best tracks here, is a fine little pop song nonetheless.
Then comes first single, "Love is the Key", a catchy rocker, showcasing Burgess`s new falsetto against a grinding bass-line and some fantastic guitar work from the rest of the band. But no matter how good it`s been so far, nothing can quite prepare you for what follows.
"A Man Needs To Be Told" is without doubt the Charlatan`s finest song to date, and a strong contender for Single Of The Year (along with Elbow`s "Newborn" and Radiohead`s "Pyramid Song").
It features a steel guitar, liquid piano and an impossible falsetto from Burgess. This without doubt the best song here.
Through the rocking I Just Can`t Get Over Losing You", and the pounding instrumental "The Bell And The Butterfly", we come to Wonderland`s most gentle tracks (alongside the closing "Love To You"). "And If I Fall" is a gorgeous slowie, the chorus is aimed so well at the hairs on the back of your neck that the spoken "advice" from Burgess towards the end of the song can (almost) be forgiven.

The rest of the album features two of the albums standouts, the Scream-esque "Wake Up" and the gorgeous conclusion of "Love To You". The former is a stunning, New York-style rocker,which jumps so unpredictably from it`s slow(ish) verses to it`s rocking choruses, that one could be forgiven for jumping. This is one of those tracks that turns the quiet-bit, loud-bit formula on it`s head and manages to make a tried and tested formula seem totally original. This, just like the rest of this astounding album, is further proof that the Charlatan`s new direction is definately a winner.
So, Charlatans fans need not worry. This brilliant new album, falsetto and all, should be enough to convince anyone that a new musical direction can sometimes be a good thing. Travis, take note.
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