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Oh NoI Love You
Charlatans man gets his americana on with second solo record
John Walshe, 24 Oct 2012
Tim Burgess has probably flirted with the majority of the seven deadly sins during his two decades plus in the music business, the obvious exception being sloth. Not content with forming the O Genesis record label, creating a breakfast cereal and writing his drug-filled memoirs, as well as touring the world as The Charlatans’ frontman, the former baggy braggart has managed to release his second solo album, albeit nine years after the last one, I Believe.
Like its predecessor, Oh No I Love You owes a sizeable debt to Tim’s once-adopted homeland of America, but the presence of Lampchop’s Kurt Wagner on co-writing and production duties – the album was recorded at Wagner’s Nashville pad – ensures that the Americana stylings feel natural rather than forced.
Various members of My Morning Jacket and Clem Snide form Burgess’ backing band and the quality of the musicianship is uniformly superb, whether on the gorgeous three-minute slice of country-tinged soul, ‘White’, the Beatles-meets-dobro mischievousness of ‘The Graduate’ or the aching balladry of ‘A Case For Vinyl’, where Burgess’ voice has rarely sounded so raw. Then there’s the string-soaked ‘Hours’, with Tim doing his best Bowie impression, the stately ‘Tobacco Fields’ and the lazy, brassy ‘The Great Outdoors Bitches’ (no, I’ve no idea what it means, either).
There are a couple of duds. The country-by-numbers of ‘The Doors Of Then’ and the pastoral pastiche of ‘The Economy’ are more filler than fillet, while the pace throughout is a little too sedate to survive the course of an entire album. Where a rollicking foot-stomper might have heightened our attention, only the light airiness of ‘Anytime Minutes’ serves to lift the tempo, with Tim confessing, “All I wanted was some careless love”. However, the closing ‘A Gain’ is worth the admission price alone, building to a soaring crescendo, with Wagner’s warmth writ large on a swaying, soulful epic that wouldn’t seem out of place on a Spiritualised album.