talent for alt-rock diversity

Up to Our Hips (Beggars Banquet)
The Charlatans

By Kevin Gibson

The Charlatans are making a decent-sized splash on the alternative music scene, and rightly so.

Talent always seems to find its way to the public, somehow.

Strangely, however, the band's latest album Up to Our Hips, quickly hits the listener with a song that seems without direction. Then, suddenly, "Can't Get Out of Bed" kicks off a series a well-crafted tunes that seem to know exactly where they are coming from and have a good idea where they are headed.

The haunting instrumental "Feel Flows" and the deliberate "Autograph" lead into "Jesus Hairdo" — funky, upbeat and probably the best track herein.

Maybe the best thing about this band is that they never lose their cool — that is, they never seem to take things too far.

While "I Never Want an Easy Life . . ." (the aforementioned song of misdirection) comes from left field a bit, the rest of the ten cuts stay enough within certain boundaries while testing other boundaries to make sure the album as a whole never disappoints.

You might say it's disarray by design. Hey, what else can we, the CD-buying public, ask for?