3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars
variation is good, 9 Feb. 2007
The Charlatans have always been one of my favourite bands, despite them being relatively unknown in the Netherlands ("The Only One I Know" appears to be a fitting title in that respect, unfortunately). What I like about the band is its versatility, not unlike "classic" artists such as Beatles, Stones and Bob Dylan, and -more recently- Blur. Too bad then that some reviewers dismiss Wonderland and Simpatico for being too different from the Charlies' early work. I, for one, like both albums. In fact, Wonderland is one of my favourites, probably just after the magnificent 1995 album "The Charlatans".
What about Simpatico then, and its supposed ska/reggae influences? Yes, these influences are there and on quite a lot of tracks actually (around two-thirds), but always with that classic Charlatans touch to it. For Your Entertainment, one of those ska/reggae tracks, is even one of my favourites of the album. Another favourite is Muddy Ground. The only track that does not work for me is Dead Man's Eye: I guess I don't like the repetitiveness and the whiney vocals in the verses of that one... All other songs are great though. Other highlights include the somewhat faster and more traditional sounding Blackened Blue Eyes, (which seems to be well-known in the UK already) and the funny/funky NYC (which we shouldn't take too seriously I guess, but just enjoy).
So IMHO Simpatico is a very nice addition to the Charlies' oeuvre. Who wants a Tellin' Stories part II, or The Charlatans 1995 Part II, anyway? I love those albums, but I already own them. Simpatico may not be their best, but it is definitely highly enjoyable. I hope the band will continue to surprise me again with their next - and no doubt excellent - release.