The Charlatans: Modern Nature (BMG Chrysalis) Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Saturday, November 28th, 2020  

The Charlatans

Modern Nature

BMG Chrysalis

May 19, 2015 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


The Charlatans tend to come back strongly in the face of tragedy. The death of original keyboard player, Rob Collins, brought the group's immensely popular (in the U.K. anyway) Tellin' Stories. The still-fresh death of drummer Jon Brookes has evoked, Modern Nature, 12th album with the strongest songwriting in recent memory for the group, whose first release was 25 years ago.

The second banana status of The Charlatans has helped the group remain contenders in the ever-changing face of British music. During the Madchester phase they weren't in the top two with Happy Mondays and The Stone Roses. During the Britpop phase, once again, they missed the top spots occupied by Blur and Oasis. There is no particular phase at the moment, which works just as well for The Charlatans since Modern Nature is many different things.

The album has a '60s beat feel. It has a '70s groove feel. It has a '90s dance music feel. It takes the best of these throwback vibes and moves forward at the same time. Album opener, "Talking In Tones," has modern-sounding twitters and clicks while "So Oh" has the vibrancy of a classic 10-year-old indie dance floor shuffler. "Come Home Baby" is a blend of early Charlatans with gospel harmonies. What are signature sounds for The Charlatans shift just enough to sound crisp and new. Mark Collins' guitars are chilling on "Keep Enough"-which also features soaring strings, a first for The Charlatans. Tony Rogers' keys are stirring on "Tall Grass"-which also features brass, another first for the group. The Verve's Pete Salisbury, New Order's Stephen Morris, Factory Floor's Gabriel Gurnsey all contribute drums, each bringing their own flair. Martin Blunt's bass is the steadfast foundation anchoring everything down.

Curtis Mayfield is the reference point thrown about the most when describing Modern Nature. Can't imagine anyone complaining about that accreditation, particularly since this is the resilient group's most soulful album to date. The key is to continue this upward trajectory without losing any more band members. (www.thecharlatans.net)

Author rating: 7/10

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Average reader rating: 8/10



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