20 years on from The Charlatans debut Some Friendly sees them return with their 11th studio album, Who We Touch. One could be forgiven for thinking they were a band who had lost their way with the last decade being very unkind to them with a number of sub-par records, Up At The Lake (2004), Simpatico (2006) and You Cross My Path (2008).
The Charlatans have proven on more than one occasion throughout incident filled career, they are survivors. The carefully constructed Who We Touch is testament to this, a return to form borne refreshingly from a love of playing music rather than money with commercial interests taking a back seat.
The record is full of warm, endearing tunes with no unfounded bluster or raking over past glories. This is the sound of a band who’s smoothly assured and matured to a level where they are comfortable in their own skin. Excluding muscular opener ‘Love Is Ending’, it’s the softer, sweeter and melodic edge of songs like ‘My Foolish Pride’, ‘Your Poor Soul’, ‘Intimacy’ and ‘Sincerity’ which binds this one together superbly with Burgess’s recognizable vocals soft and impassioned throughout.
It may not be Tellin’ Stories or Us and Us Only but it’s a very worthwhile album. Their sound may be a tad old-fashioned or antiquated but there is certainly still life in the old dog yet, this is easily the best record they’ve put together in almost a decade.