Label: Bella Union
The Charlatans have long been a staple of the indie scene. With a back catalogue spanning nearly 30 years. Rather than rest easy, Charlatans singer Tim Burgess has also been carving out a solo career with 5 albums and numerous festival slots and tours. Burgess’ new EP ‘Ascent of the Ascended’ comes hot on the heels of his fifth studio album ‘I Love the New Sky’. ‘Ascent of the Ascended’ is a mixture of 2 new tracks (the title track and ‘Yours. To Be’) and 4 live tracks.
The first of the new tracks (‘Ascent of the Ascended’) starts with all of the swagger of Primal Scream. Soon the track gives way to a style that borrows more from The Divine Comedy with it’s piano led pop. Through ‘Ascent of the Ascended’, Burgess’s vocals sit back in the mix almost to make the song sound fuller rather than put himself centre stage which is a nice change for a solo artist.
The second new track (‘Yours. To Be’) is a straight up unashamed love song. Lyrics such as “what a feeling to be yours” float out over an acoustic shuffle. A lot softer than the previous track, it has a completely different sound yet feels like the same artist.
The rest of this EP is all live tracks but rather than sounding live, they sound like studio recordings which speaks of the caliber of musician Burgess is working with. ‘The Only One I Know’ is an updated version of a Charlatans song almost as a reminder of where his roots lie but also how much he’s changed. Rather than the shambling indie that Charlatans were famous for, it now sounds more like a country song with the band joining in harmonies. ‘The Mall’ and ‘Laurie’ sound like they wouldn’t be out of place in a hotel lobby with its glorious pop sound, Casio keyboards and soft drums.
As an EP of new songs, old songs and one that is around 30 years old, ‘Ascent of the Ascended’ sounds remarkably cohesive as a body of work.