Few expected Tim Burgess to turn into a renaissance man and national treasure, yet here he is – frontman for The Charlatans, acclaimed solo performer, DJ, author, boss of the O Genesis label and Tim Peaks coffee entrepreneur – full of irrepressible energy and relentless cheer. For proof, his latest album’s opener is entitled Empathy For The Devil, and it starts like The Cure’s Boys Don’t Cry, then settles in between Supertramp and Supergrass, before taking a run into the bluegrass.

This fifth solo album may not be his masterpiece – that would be 2012’s Oh No I Love You – but it’s a sturdy effort with a nose for classic sounds and likable eccentricity. He’s guided in his pursuit – though, unusually, he wrote entirely alone – by Grumbling Fur’s Alexander Tucker as producer: squealing synths, Neu!-like keyboards and Can-like rhythms splatter The Warhol Me, while the graciously romantic The Mall boasts an arrangement worthy of Van Dyke Parks’ madder endeavours for The Beach Boys. I Got This finds him at his most Charlatans, but even this adds harpsichord to its baggy beat and electric pianos, while Lucky Creatures and Sweet Old Sorry Me add a Jagger swagger, with twists of Elton John’s Benny & The Jets in the latter.
Rating: 8/10
Wyndham Wallace

 

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