Tellin' Stories

CD Cover The Charlatans UK

Review by Darren Gawle

45-second excerpt from "With No Shoes" (various formats)

Tellin' Stories goes to show just how veteran the Charlatans really are, with the band carrying on after a setback (the death of keyboardist Rob Collins) that would have sunk most other bands. They've hired the ivory-tickling talents of Martin Duffy (of Primal Scream), dedicated the album to Rob, and have produced here their fifth album to date... so meet the new Charlatans, same as the old Charlatans.

They still have the same sound they always did, but in keeping with the trend that's been developing since 1994's Up to Our Hips, pop sensibilities are making room for an increased rock quotient. Album opener "With No Shoes" conveys a very rock sense of grandeur without actually sounding like something you'd hear on CFMI (probably because you'd be hard-pressed to find a greater non-threat than "Stone me, and may you always have no shoes!"), "Get On It" sounds more like Bob Dylan than Bob himself does these days, and the Charlatans appear to have jumped on the now-obligatory UFO bandwagon with the instrumental "Area 51."

Apart from the John Cougar-Mellencamp-soundalike "You're a Big Girl Now," there are really no major down points to Tellin' Stories -- apart from the fact that this is the same stuff we've been listening to for the past seven years, and that there's no truly great single material the likes of "The Only One I Know" or "Can't Get Out of Bed" to be found here.

First published in Drop-D Magazine on July 12, 1997

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