Music Reviews

The Charlatans UK

Songs From the Other Side

Beggars Banquet

Ah, the Charlies. They’re mostly famous for just being Britpop survivors and for that last “let’s get sexxy” LP, Wonderland, which I didn’t exactly do backflips for but was pretty great nonetheless. But there’s a lot more to them than just longevity, and this collection is proof.

Songs From the Other Side is a 79-minute B-side compilation, and contains stuff from their first classic single, 1990’s “The Only One I Know,” all the way through 1997’s “Tellin’ Stories.” It’s a huge cliche, I know, but I’m a-gonna use it: this is a hell of a lot better than most bands’ “Greatest Hits” CDs, and is in some ways just as impressive as their own greatest hits disc from 1998, Melting Pot.

These are amazing songs with spark and passion. Check out Rob Collins’ tasty organ work on “Happen To Die” if you want to hear their signature early sound; this track and “Occupation H. Monster” are a really nice three-four Collins punch on the disc. And the longer jams of “Stir It Up” and the Van Basten remix of “Feel Flows” are just so yummy it’s unreal, showing how incredibly tight the rhythm section of Martin Blunt and Jon Brookes can be.

And don’t forget the Tim Burgess voice: he manages to swoon and croon on pieces like “Green Flashing Eyes” (also showcasing some sweet guitar slashings from Mark Collins) and “Don’t Need a Gun” that affect me much more than Liam Gallagher ever did. I’m a little underwhelmed by The Chemical Brothers’ remix of “Nine Acre Court,” but whatever – better to just listen to “Clean Up Kid” from the post-Rob-Collins era (he died in a carcrash) to get an object lesson in how to survive with style and funkiness in this crazy world.

Beggars Banquet:

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