This review was first
published on CLUAS in 2001
Other albums reviewed in 2001
A review of their album 'Wonderland'
After a twelve year existence the Charlatans have re-engineered their sound and made it - yes - fresh again. The new album 'Wonderland' is not what we would expect from the five guys from Manchester. It's a pop music extravaganza. Soul-driven, the high-pitched vocals work well with the contrasting bass tones of the band.
Lead singer Tim Burgess - now a Los Angeles resident - has been heavily influenced by his new found home. He not only changes his vocal style but his lyrics freely express his never-ending love for his wife throughout the album. He claims these lyrics are about all insecurities that men deal with on a daily basis. Starting out with Sex Pistols inspired, 'You're so pretty - We're so pretty' the album is catchy and upbeat. As Burgess' soulful side reveals itself again in 'Is It In You?' and 'I Just Can't Get Over Losing You'. The lyrical centre of the album, 'And If I Fall', is an energized song with a chorus that explodes: 'I want to change the world / just for the hell of it / just for the sake of it / just cause I need it / just cause I need you'. With a syncopated electronic back rhythm this song quickly became one of my favourites.
With a main theme of emotional vulnerability 'Wonderland' is a place that most of us may not want to go but those who do will reap great rewards.