Home Read Classic Album Review: The Charlatans UK | Wonderland

Classic Album Review: The Charlatans UK | Wonderland

The Manchester soul-rockers embrace America in a big way on their seventh set.

170

This came out in 2001 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):

 


The UK tag is there to differentiate this Manchester soul-rock outfit from a ’60s San Francisco garage-rock band.

Aside from being an unnecessary adjunct, it’s somewhat ironic, forever marking this journeyman outfit as British outsiders while they’ve spent the last half a decade trying to sound more American. Wonderland, their seventh album in a long string of undervalued work, may be their most Yankee-centric disc yet. This 48-minute set packs 10 solid, hooky shots of hip-swivelling soul, R&B and groove-rock, complete with percolating Hammond B-3 swells, falsetto Curtis Mayfield vocals and even strategic handclaps. Still, they haven’t completely forgotten the homeland — these tracks also have the giant canyon-sized guitar riffs of contemporary Britpop, along with the trippy dance grooves and scritch-scratch electronics that betray their Manchester roots. Call it the best of both worlds.