The have been around a long time. They have had huge success with some brilliant albums. The list of singles that have been belted out in sweaty indie clubs the world over is impressive. They boast some of the defining albums of my teen years, 95’s The Charlatans, Tellin’ Stories and Wonderland. The one problem they face while getting older is how to compete with new bands that take music on a different path, can they still be relevant? Charlatans
Who We Touch is The Charlatans eleventh studio album of a career that has lasted over 20 years. On first listen this album doesn’t fill me with excitement. There are no instant winners. There are moments when it sounds great but not enough to stand alongside any of the classic Charlatans songs.
Opening track ‘Love is Ending’ starts with a crash of drums and guitar. Burgess’s vocal still holds the classic soft groan that flitters in and out of tune. It’s not a bad opener, in fact it is one of the faster tracks and probably one of the better ones, a sure hit with die hard fans.
Who We Touch has an eclectic mix of styles throughout, which kind of disrupts the flow. ‘My Foolish Pride’ is a keyboard led pop song that softly struts along a happy melody. Although I cringe to lyrics ‘Make love, not war’.
The acoustic ‘Your Pure Soul’ is a slow, sad song that holds elements of Coldplay. The constant rhyming throughout the verses is annoying. The melody of the bridge builds and sets the chorus up taking it into an electro pop infused combo before settling back into acoustics.
The album takes a turn for the worse with the Madchester type swagger of ‘Smash the System’. Lyrically this is just horrible. The track just doesn’t work, although you can get that from its title. Enough said.
‘Trust in Desire’ picks the album up, it doesn’t sound like the Charlatans, especially the chorus, it has more U2 about it that the Northwich outfit.
Over all I find it too boring to replay. Endless clichés throughout the lyrics and song titles make Who We Touch just too embarrassing. There are far more exciting things happening right now. For a band I grew up with I feel I have out grew them. Any new fans listening to Who We Touch will certainly get a shock at past albums, which have far more to offer.