Tim Burgess I Believe

The Charlatans have always been a frustrating band because their albums never live up to the high expectations suggested by their singles. Even their most consistent record, 2001's Wonderland, threw in a couple of bad songs, almost as a threat so we don’t take them completely for granted. So it is only fitting that head Charlatan Tim Burgess has followed a similar philosophy with his solo debut. Prior to the album’s release, Burgess was very vocal in his admiration for Gram Parsons and suggested that this might be an homage to his idol but it seems like the only real connection to Parsons is a geographical one. Recorded in California, I Believe is a bright, summery record that gives Burgess the chance to try his hand at a bunch of different musical styles, with varying degrees of success. The best songs are those that don’t sound too different from the Charlatans, probably because that is when he sounds most comfortable. But it is the production that really lets him down because I Believe has been polished so drastically in the studio that every song sounds like a calculated attempt to conquer the AOR charts. That lack of sincerity is Burgess’ downfall and it looks like he really shouldn’t quit his day job yet. (Koch)