Charlatans Us and Us Only


The Charlatans are one of the only Madchester-era bands that is still managing to keep it together, and better yet, still managing to release good records. The sad loss of inaugural keyboard player Rob Collins in a fatal accident a couple years back threatened to hobble their sound, but replacement Tony Rogers has done an excellent job of filling in on the keys. The traditional Hammond organ and piano sound of the Charlatans is intact, and the lengthy “Forever,” which opens the album, is a sign that this band does not intend to go away without a fight. Tim Burgess still wraps his nasally voice around good pop tracks and “Impossible” proves that they are nowhere near running out of ideas. Hell, that song even features Burgess playing harmonica — and pretty well, too. On top of all this, Us and Us Only was produced by the band themselves and doesn’t suffer because of it. Doubters should take note of “A House Is Not A Home” and the trippy “Watching You.” This is great stuff and hats off to the boys for keeping their head screwed on well enough to keep their music in focus. Note to the obsessive: the Japanese import has some great extra tracks. (Universal)