This is a cool record. Tim Burgess has cool hair, and wears cool sunglasses. The Charlatans are cool, and this is cool music.
If ever rock music could maintain a physical presence, then this would be its anthem, this would be the music it sticks it's shades on to and struts! It rocks, it's got balls and somewhat strangely, this is very sexy! No doubt largely due to this being the most soulful of any Charlatans release.
I was expecting a good album, as with the last two releases The Charlatans had developed a level of quality which lasted for an entire album. Certainly 'Us And Us Only' had no filler trax and quickly became installed as my favourite record of 1999.
More of the same was the order of the day. So, on hearing about the funk elements being worked with on 'Wonderland', I was slightly apprehensive... I should have known better.
Wonderland is an album of uplifting music that makes you want to walk around with god-like attitude... It's The Charlatans soundtrack to an after show party. Like that feeling when a watery afternoon sun creeps from behind the clouds, making bad moods melt away. An album to make you smile.
"I will perfectly accept you and together, we can fly away, to another land" and that is what this record does. It takes you some place else.
The whole album hangs together very well, and an effervescent theme is maintained throughout, that theme being the good times. An album of such quality tunes that anything could easily be a single. From the funk bass lines of 'You're So Pretty, We're So Pretty' to the delicate falsetto of 'A Man Needs To Be Told' to the sexual innuendo of 'Is It In You?' every song has class stamped all over them.
Vocally Burgess has never had it so good, this is seriously good work, and is a collection of wholly rounded songs, which create a buzz and a feeling which rides throughout. Producing something infinitely more satisfying than just music, this goes much deeper. It's a state of well being in itself.
An instantly affecting record, which for a band that are this far down the road, still sounds fresh, vibrant and exciting. Some bands are so far behind, they will simply never catch up. Without too much doubt, the saviours of British guitar music and one of THE finest British guitar bands of recent times.
Tim sings "Keep coming back, for a little more" on 'You're So Pretty, We're So Pretty' and to this you certainly will keep coming back.
8Neil Leeds's Score