Long-standing Britpop outfit The Charlatans are back with their 13th album, many artists don't make it this far, very few even break the 10 album barrier. However, Different Days is probably their best album in nearly 20 years. Lead vocalist, Tim Burgess, is widely known for being able to actually sing very well, compared to the other singer's in Britpop's elite this is actually an achievement, but that was never the appeal of Britpop. Burgess can really ride a groove on this album, seamlessly flowing over the tracks, very smoothly. Immediately on the first track, Hey Sunrise, you would suspect this was a different band though because the lower tone of his voice and the slow, melodic harmony of the acoustic guitar is very un-Charlatans. The real winner on this album though is the song Not Forgotten, an eery 90's throwback to the days where the only thing to talk about in music was Blur v Oasis and Kate Moss was everywhere. But what really shines on the track is the emotional undertones and the escalating drum beat, leading up to a very glamorous, extremely emotional chorus.
The Same House is a song straight off Madness' greatest hits, because it doesn't perpetuate this album at all. I think it's very out of place with it's very up beat and pop-py overtones, it grinds the flow of the album to a halt and it's a shame because the short interludes were really building towards a very grandiose finale to see the closer of the album, but it just sort of ends with Spinning Out. A slow, depressing ballad. I think they were struggling with how to end this album, yet it should have just ended before The Same House started playing, that would have left me very satisfied and would have made this album a great deal better than it really is.
What I really love about this album though is the sense that the band have shoved their way in to the modern music scene, stating 'this is us, this is the music we're making and it's great' and the ease of The Charlatans shows on this album, it's a very bold and confident sound and yet it does not step outside of their comfort zone at all. I don't know if the progression of their sound is helped by the plethora of guest appearances on the album, ranging from Johnny Marr on Plastic Machinery (You can really tell this is Johnny Marr) to the more subtle, with Simple Minds on the track There Will Be Chances. Overall, this is a really great album by The Charlatans, really pushing the idea and the sound of classic Britpop in to the modern age, however it does fall away towards the end of the album and this really is a great drawback because it could have been avoided.