Top critical review
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Your Pure Soul
on June 17, 2011
So, I believe this is the Charlatans' 11th Studio album. The Charlatans are in my list of top ten artists and I'm always excited when they have a new release out. Unfortunately, the only word I can sum-up their latest effort with is "disappointing". This album took me a while to finally buy, because you see, this is the United States and all the best music seems to miss us. This means it was impossible to find this album in any of my local stores. I finally purchased this album through a seller on Amazon and it arrived the other day. I've had about 2 or 3 listens to these tracks and I have to say that this is sadly The Charlatans' standout weakest effort. If you're someone who is looking to check out this band, start somewhere else; just about anywhere else. The other 10 studio albums are good, solid efforts. Who We Touch suffers on a few different levels. The harder-edged organ/guitar rock element is sorely missing, the hooks on all the songs are trying to be painfully catchy, and the subject matter of the songs seems like there's too much of an effort to have mass popular appeal and the lyrics lack any real depth because of it. It's not a terrible album, but stacked up against the other Charlatans albums, it's pretty bland. The one and only track that I find myself going back to more than others is "Your Pure Soul". This song has the classic Charlatans feel to it and definitely benefits from it, hence the title of this review. So, the explanation of why I gave this album 3 stars is because of the deluxe edition. There are a handful of out-takes and alternate takes on the second disc that are better than the tracks on the album itself. I kind of like when reviewers do a track-by-track run-through, so below are my (brief) initial impressions of the album tracks:
Love is Ending - Basic rock song, nothing special here; forgettable
My Foolish Pride - Kind of interesting, but too "TV Theme Song" for me
Your Pure Soul - Classic Charlatans organ-drenched rock-ballad. Best tune on album.
Smash the System - Song is way too mellow to be about smashing the system; Also, seems like the title is supposed to make this a song about rebellion and smashing the system seems like a phrase that wore out its welcome over 20 years ago.
Intimacy - Verse = interesting and fun, Chorus = annoying
Sincerity - Decent, nothing special
Trust in Desire - song that has that kind of quarter-note beat that every other pop-rock song has lately; trying too hard to be an anthem. Decent, but not outstanding
When I Wonder - Gotta say, this one isn't too bad. Interesting chord-structure
Oh - Kinda just there, not much to say
You Can Swim - Pretty bland, slow-moving tune