When you've been in the music business as long as Tim Burgess has, expectations kind of lose priority somewhat. Yet, despite his veteran status, Burgess has spent the best part of the last decade doing his utmost to confound such preconceptions. Having been the lead singer with The Charlatans since 1990, he and his band have outlasted a succession of genres from the baggy counterculture of indie rock through acid house and rave, grunge, Britpop and any other musically orientated fad you care to mention. Not bad for an outfit initially dismissed as little more than a Stone Roses pastiche all those years ago.
Of course, it could be argued that Tim Burgess first showed signs of his own re-invention back in 2003. While daring in many ways, 'I Believe', his one and only excursion as a solo artist until now, was a patchy affair at best. Forged in a similar soulful-cum-Americana vein to the material his band were churning out at the time, it wasn't his finest hour; if anything, it provided a catalyst for the three excellent long players The Charlatans have conjured up between them since.
Nowadays, Burgess is more likely to be seen manning the decks in a trendy East London nightspot chaperoned by at least one member of The Horrors rather than jumping on any Madchester-induced 1990s revival, and if 'Oh No I Love You' is anything to go by, sounds all the better for it.
Spawned from a chance encounter with Lambchop's Kurt Wagner many moons ago in Manchester, the majority of 'Oh No I Love You' having been written by the mercurial Lambchop frontman, it's a largely melancholic affair that wouldn't sound out of place had it come with Wagner's trademark moniker rather than Burgess' name on the front cover.
Drawing on his wealth of experience, Burgess has called on the likes of R Stevie Moore, Factory Floor's Nik Colk and Gabe Gurnsey, Sean O'Hagan of the High Llamas and assorted members of My Morning Jacket alongside Wagner. Whereas opener 'White' mixes northern soul chops with a plucky vocal delivery disguising its heartbreak-ridden sentiment, 'The Doors Of Then' adds a new chapter to Jimmy Webb's 'Wichita Lineman', nearly thirty-five years on.
'The Graduate' takes a solemn jaunt along a country road, while 'Anytime Minutes' could quite easily have slotted into The Charlatans eloquent soul collection 'Wonderland'. 'Oh No I Love You' works best though when Burgess seems up against it, and on lovelorn epic 'A Case For Vinyl' and haunting piano ballad 'Tobacco Fields' there's an eerie wistfulness masking the happy-go-lucky persona we've come to expect.
'Oh No I Love You' is far from perfect. Indeed, over the course of its ten songs, there are occasions where the album sags a little, but after the hotchpotch collection that was 'I Believe', it's a gallant step in the right direction.
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