The Charlatans – You Cross My Path

Whether giving away music via download is inevitable or too fraught with difficulties, for the time being it’s good news for consumers and bad news for record company executives and smaller bands. Back in October 2007, The Charlatans announced their intention to release their tenth studio album through these means.

After three virtual single releases in conjunction with XFM, You Cross My Path was made available for free download earlier this month and is now in physical format too. While being the first British band to release a full album for nowt via a radio station website is a small milestone in terms of marketing, the music itself isn’t going to make history. Then again, the band has never been feted for consummate songwriting or boundary-crossing.

It’s a vigorous and animated collection of songs, with the downbeat exception of My Name Is Despair, which nods towards the darkness of Nick Cave. There’s a lot of high bass that bears the stamp of Peter Hook or Simon Gallup – Bad Days in particular is very Monaco/New Order and BIRD has the strongest shades of The Cure. Though The Misbegotten has an odd trancey throb and Missing Beats (of a Generation) is like a strange mash up of The Who and The Chemical Brothers, they’re sandwiched between the familiar sounds of Oh!Vanity and This Is The End.

After the occasional dabble in various genres, this latest album is archetypal keyboard-swirled Charlatans with Tim Burgess’ characteristic inflections, which is more than enough to please old fans.

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