Tim Burgess has become an unlikely musical hero of the lockdown period with his hugely enjoyable "Twitter Listening Parties", but now the Charlatans frontman has his own material to plug.
Burgess has added multiple feathers to his cap over the years, including that of celebrated author, radio DJ and solo artist – the latter allowing him to indulge in experimentation and playfulness regarding genre and style, best heard on his 2003 alt-country debut I Believe.
His fifth solo record, self-penned in its entirety for the first time, throws another delightful curveball. Enlisting the help of experimental art-rock musician and arranger Daniel O'Sullivan, Burgess's musical touchpoints of 1970s-era Brian Eno and Paul McCartney are audible on the textured squelch of guitars, piano and rich flourishes of string arrangements.
Songs like the sweet bumble of Sweetheart Mercury sit next to the theatrical Sparks-esque sophisticated pop of Comme d’Habitude. The Warhol Me takes a spacier slant, while the subtle chord changes on songs like The Mall exemplify the best features of this album: there’s lots going on in every song, but it never feels overcooked.
Lyrically, Burgess bounds between wry introspection and cautionary tales, but the breezy, uplifting piano pop of I Got This could be adopted as an empowering anthem for these difficult times. What's not to like? Timburgessmusic.com
Download: Comme D'Habitude, Empathy for the Devil