Picks and Pans Review: Between 10th and 11th
At the dawn of the '90s, MTV introduced a new type of British band—the cute Manchester lads with bowl-shaped locks and a psychedelic '60s musical mood. While the Roses won the critical acclaim and Happy Mondays indulged in rock-star hedonism, the pouty Charlatans became the movement's poster boys, New Kids on the Block for the relatively serious-minded set.
With their second release, the Charlatans seem less fanzine idols than sober artistes. Hammond organ flourishes, indie groove and trippy aura and Tim Burgess' fey vocals remain, and the songs still sport a good though non-danceable beat. But the melodies are crisper, tougher and no longer finding their way through a thick fog. The jaded lyrics, too, have a bit more bite. With this release, it appears that the Charlatans have not only outgrown their haircuts but escaped becoming another casualty of pop music's hype machine. (Beggars Banquet/RCA)
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