Having enjoyed a thirty-two-year career, it’s entirely plausible to think that Charlatans’ frontman Tim Burgess may have exhausted the limits of his creative brain cells. Yet, if the last two years are to go by, quite the opposite is true. Having seen the postponement of The Charlatans’ 30th Anniversary Tour and promotional activities for his fifth solo album, I Love the New Sky, thanks to that all-too-familiar foe COVID-19, the Cheshire-based singer-songwriter decided to launch Tim’s Twitter Listening Party, which has seen hundreds of parties virtually held, and spawned two books.
In addition to his social media activities, it was suggested to Burgess that he write another solo album. The result of the suggestion is Typical Music, a bumper twenty-two-track double album of diverse sounds and moods.
Burgess acknowledges the difficulties that can come with releasing a double album, stating; “Historically, they’ve been thought of as indulgent. But I came to the conclusion that what I was doing was the opposite of that. I wanted to give people everything I’d done”, adding; “I wanted to give everything of myself.” Burgess spent thirty days in the studio to record the album with multi-instrumentalist Daniel O’Sullivan and synthesiser icon Thighpaulsandra, whose electronic influence shines throughout the record. Together the trio have managed to create a record that fearlessly fluctuates between genres and styles.
“Here Comes The Weekend” opens the album on a positive note, offering the joyous feeling of realising the weekend is imminent after a long week. If the opener is perfect listening for a late Friday afternoon, the second track, “Curiosity”, would suggest the weekend is in full swing with its faster-paced vocal and energetic feel.
“Time That We Call Time” provides a more relaxed, laid-back feel musically backed by piano intermingled with bass. As you would expect across twenty-two songs, there is a constant shifting in mood and momentum. “Revenge Through Art” brings back the fast-paced, electronic vibes, while “Kinetic Connection” calms proceedings with a slower tempo backed by piano. Ten songs in and “The Centre of Me (Is a Symphony of You)” puts forward the best of both worlds, starting slowly with acoustic guitar and piano accompaniment before building up, getting faster and faster until its conclusion.
“A Bloody Nose” is the song on the record most reminiscent of early Charlatans records, with the high-tempo guitars proving endearing. While “View From Above” invokes memories of The Beatles, but also gives the most notable guitar solo on the album, with Burgess almost summoning it with the line, “You’re raising the bar, With electric guitar….”
Burgess shows off his philosophical side during back-to-back tracks “Sure Enough” and “What’s Meant For You.” The former offers a summation of life with lines such as; “The world is spinning way too fast” and a chorus that acknowledges the past time; “This is not by any means my first rodeo; in fact, it could be my last, final go”, and the latter reassures that “What’s meant for you, won’t pass you by”.
During the album recording, Burgess informs that he; “wanted more. I wanted to challenge us all.” This self-challenging mentality is evident throughout by how he seems to willingly and very deliberately change vocal styles. “When I See You” introduces yet another vocal style, with Burgess opting for spoken word to tell a love story that harks back to the very first meeting in New York to close the album on a positive, heart-warming footing.
Often double albums can struggle to hold a listener’s attention, and at times Typical Music can seem to lag simply because of the sheer size and depth of the album. However, Burgess emanates a warmth that ensures a listener will be captivated; such is the diverse range of sounds on show. Typical Music commands numerous listens, as, on every play, something new will stand out. Typical Music proves to be anything but.