The Charlatans (or Charlatans UK if you’re reading this in the United States) are one of indie rock’s great survival stories. Formed in the late 80s, they started out pretty baggy, and have constantly re-invented themselves with each album since 1990’s Some Friendly to their 11th studio album Who We Touch twenty years later.
As well as surviving baggy, indie, britpop and two decades of changing tastes, they’ve dealt with personal tragedy, losing keyboard player Rob Collins in a car crash while the band was working on their fifth album Tellin’ Stories.
Back in 1990, as I was dabbling with the dark indie arts, I made Some Friendly my first CD purchase (long before I even owned a CD player, mind), having fallen in love with “The Only One I Know” from the legendary Happy Daze compilation, and “Then” from the less legendary Hit Pack compilation.
I know it’s now 24 years later, but to me this still sounds fresh and exciting, and it doesn’t take much to realise what drew me to it, and why I felt it would be such a strong signifier that I wanted to be seen as a little bit different when it came to music taste: what are these lyrics? (actually, some of them are lifted straight out of The Byrds’ Everybody’s Been Burned)
Where is the chorus?
What do they look like?