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I Believe

Tim Burgess

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Album Review

On their 2001 album Wonderland, the Charlatans UK started to seem a little boxed in by the classicist rock & roll that was their stock-in-trade since the heady heyday of Britpop in 1995, so perhaps it shouldn't be a great surprise that their lead singer, Tim Burgess, packed up and headed out to California around the time of its release. It also shouldn't be a great surprise that he cut a solo album not long after Wonderland, releasing I Believe in the fall of 2003 (at least in the U.K.; in the U.S., it didn't see a release until the spring of 2005, nearly a full year after the Charlatans' eighth album, Up at the Lake). Written and recorded with Linus of Hollywood (no last name given), the record is recognizably the work of the Charlatans' leader — there is a similar fondness for laid-back, easy-rolling classic rock, sunny hooks, a vague infatuation with lite dance rhythms — but instead of the journeyman working band vibe that has been the group's stock-in-trade since their eponymous 1995 album, Burgess develops a light, breezy, retro vibe here that is considerably lighter on its feet than anything his regular band has done in recent memory. Heavily inspired by his surroundings, Burgess indulges in a variety of Southern Californian styles, whether it's the sweet, skipping country-rock of "Years Ago," the mellow funky jam of "I Believe in the Spirit," or the string-laden sweet soul of "Say Yes." After the rather rote handful of Charlatans records since Tellin' Stories, this is a nice relief, and the entire record has an appealing, relaxed vibe that makes it a good soundtrack for a sunny afternoon. The only problem is, it's an album about sound, not songs. None of the individual tracks are all that memorable, but as a whole, it's a nice, friendly record that proves that it was a good idea for Burgess to go it alone this time around.

Biography

Born: 30 May 1967 in Salford, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

Tim Burgess inherited Mick Jagger's rock & roll swagger and big lips before Oasis' Liam Gallagher became famous for them. When Burgess debuted with his group the Charlatans in the late ‘80s, he looked and sounded almost interchangeable with many of the Manchester, England artists at the time — bangs, baggy pants, and detached, lazy vocals — but by embracing other musical styles and moving forward, he has actually outlived his contemporaries. Burgess may not receive the critical accolades,...
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I Believe, Tim Burgess
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