THE GRADE B+
BOTTOM LINE Rekindling a bit of Madchester fire with a star-studded lineup and some cool grooves.
It has been nearly three decades since the Madchester scene exploded in England, introducing the world to a gaggle of new bands such as Stone Roses, Happy Mondays and Inspiral Carpets.
The Charlatans, best known for the chugging smash “The Only One I Know,” are the ones who carried the banner the longest and the new “Different Days” (The End) album shows why.
Singer Tim Burgess has always known how to ride a groove well, while maintaining a level of unruffled cool. That’s on display here, whether it’s the Britpop vibe of the Johnny Marr-aided single “Plastic Machinery” or the stately latter day New Order feel of “There Will Be Chances.”
The biggest winner, though, is “Not Forgotten,” which actually sounds the most like The Charlatans’ early work, mixing an unstoppable bassline from Martin Blunt, jangling guitars from Mark Collins and Tony Rogers’ distinctive synths with Anton Newcombe’s memorable drumming.
While the great Paul Weller helps out on the folk-influenced “Spinning Out” and New Order’s Stephen Morris offers drumming and programming on half the album’s tracks, “Different Days” succeeds thanks to The Charlatans’ long-lasting chemistry.