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Album Review
Who We Touch

Who We Touch
by The Charlatans

Cooking Vinyl / End Records / Shock Records

Review Date
14th October 2010
Reviewed by
Ricardo Kerr

The Charlatans were always a difficult band to pin down and a band fated to draw comparisons with their laundry list of contemporaries. Are they to be cast as a down-to-Planet-Earth Stone Roses? Perhaps a more personable Oasis? While music boffins busy themselves with such heavy-handed comparisons the band simply gets on with the job at hand of making music. Unlike many of the early 90s Brit-rock bands The Charlatans have remained active, if not vital, through the years since their 1990 debut. Two decades on they have remarkably managed to avoid any lengthy hiatus (releasing an album every 2 or 3 years) or internal conflict that could cripple their burgeoning legacy.

Who We Touch, the band’s tenth album, opens with Love is Ending; emerging from your speakers as a confident, cocksure blast of sound. As this aural assault falls into the groove of the main song its charm becomes clear. The music has a swaggering cool underneath the fiery punk chords. As a statement of intent it is clear that they’ve been no slackers in the two years since their last album, marrying their sense of skewed melody to a furious sonic assault. As the album works its way along the listener is given a master class in modern rock and roll from genuine veterans of the scene. Be it in the brooding fuzz of Sincerity or the thick bass groove of Intimacy, The Charlatans know how to make music that tickles the mind and motivates the booty. By the time the gentle, near-folky near-ballad ‘Oh’ oozes out near the end of the album there is little doubt that there is nothing this band cannot manage when they devote themselves to the task. This is the lasting impression of the band and one of this album’s most endearing qualities.

One can’t help but feel as though Who We Touch is a firm but friendly (and timely) lesson in unpretentious rock’n’roll to bands half their age, and those bands would do well to pay attention. Aside from a perhaps overly long coda, Who We Touch manages to both rock and inspire and it stands out as one of the most pleasant surprises you will hear out of British rock in 2010.


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