Us and Us Only
our score: 3.5 out of 5.0
In a Name?
American's concept of Britpop is a vision filled with images of
Radiohead, Oasis, and
Blur. With the release of Us and Us Only, The Charlatans
UK (Charlatans everywhere else except the US) have shown that
they too are a contender in this musical battle for recognition.
And while Tim Burgess's lyrics may never reach the artistic incomprehensibility
of Thom Yorke's, and nor will the band members become as recognizable
as the often-despisable Gallagher brothers, The Charlatans UK
continue to climb up the Britpop ladder.
Us Only is the fifth album from The Charlatans UK. It is also
their first album on MCA, after breaking from indie label Beggar's
Banquet. The album continue the natural progression of the band
while at the same time dealing with the death of their keyboardist,
who was replaced by pianist Tony Rogers.
around keyboards has always been a standard tactic with The Charlatans
UK, and this album is no different. However, this time around
other influences become apparent as well. Such is the case with
the album's opener "Forever." Influences of the UK's big beat
scene are unmistakably present. Sampled strings, a driving bassline,
and a steady drum beat slowly build until Burgess's vocals enter
and the song takes full form. Sound layers build, combine, and
recede creating the sonic force necessary to introduce this album.
in style throughout the album, running the gamut of haunting mental
discharges to earnest acoustic ballads. "Good Witch / Bad Witch
3" is a Stone-Roses-esque blend of Air-meets-Death in Vegas lamentation
which leaves the listener at a state of meditative mental stasis,
only to be thrown from this stasis by the opening acoustic chords
the album the band continues to shine. Bob Dylan influences are
obvious in some of the acoustic songs, especially "A House is
Not a Home" to the point where it would not be surprising if the
man himself stepped in for a verse or two. Yet other songs place
layers upon layers, incorporating harmonicas, synths, organs,
and pianos taking pop-rock music and transcending its boundaries.
UK started out with their own vein of rock, and have continued
to stay within that vein. They tread their own ground progressing
at their own rate, oftentimes leaving the rest jof the pack behind.
While Oasis has continued to remake the same album time and time
again and Radiohead progresses so much as to change style on every
album, The Charlatans UK bring back their previous styles and
build upon them. Fans of earlier works will be pleased by this
album, and for those who are looking for Britpop that is staying
up with the times, Us and Us Only is the answer.
at times been called too hip for alt.rock fans as well as not
progressive enough for fans of Britpop innovation, but nevertheless
this album is an excellent work - one of their best. It will also
be the album to introduce them to an audience larger than their
fellow countrymen and those Britpop junkies who have already realized
the band's talent. Hopefully this new audience will give them
the appreciation they deserve.
liked Us and Us Only...
2. Good Witch, Bad Witch
4. The Blonde Waltz
5. A House is Not a Home
7. My Beautiful Friend
8. I Don't Care Where You Live
9. The Blind Stagger
10. Watching You