Charlatans' frontman delivers his finest solo work to date
Tim Burgess has created a new cult following of late with his nightly Twitter listening parties. Each evening, Twitter users are invited to take part in listening to music while commenting and asking questions while Tim, or an artist of his choosing, replies and discusses the music.
It’s become so popular that it’s a good thing he was able to finish his new album, ‘I Love The New Sky’, as organising his Twitter parties has become akin to a full time job.
The Charlatans’ singer is, quite remarkably, entering his fifth decade in the music industry but this is the first solo album he’s released that’s not been written in collaboration with another artist.
The end result is pure Burgess, an album that’s full of charm, wit and hypnotic melodies. Hearing the opening chords to The Cure’s ‘Boys Don’t Cry’ on the album’s opener ‘Empathy For The Devil’, is a little confusing at first but all is made clear on ‘Only Took a Year’ when Burgess’ tip of the hat to The Cure is complete. ‘What’s Your Favourite Cure LP / I like Pornography / But it could be any one of three’. It’s a lyric that only Burgess could pull off and being able to turn ordinary conversation pieces into poetry is what has made him one of Britain’s most endearing singers.
He manages it again on ‘The Mall’ while singing about the ups and downs of people’s daily lives as they go about their business, commentating about ‘escalating drama on a moving staircase’.
The addition of saxophone, strings and piano throughout lift the songs to another level, none more so than on ‘Comme D’Habitude’. The production manages to blend solemn lyrics with the sound of a stage musical before swirling and drifting into the dreamlike coda.
The Charlatans have long been renowned for making music using a wide range of influences and Burgess hasn’t been afraid to continue in the same vein, whether it’s in the obvious reference to The Cure or to the more subtle Pixies-sounding ‘Undertow’.
Tim Burgess has continued to draw on his strengths on his most recent outing and it’s resulted in one of his finest solo albums to date. It’s an observation of everyday life and experiences, finely pieced together with clever, often humorous lyrics and imaginative arrangements. If Burgess plays this during one of his listening parties, it’ll no doubt attract his biggest audience to date.
‘I Love The New Sky’ is out now via Bella Union.