The album is filled with sunshine, The Beach Boys, The Byrds and Bob Dylan.
Jack Smith 2003-09-11
Living on the West Coast of America has had a big impact on Tim Burgess, the floppy-fringed frontman of indie stalwarts The Charlatans.
The fringe remains but on I Believe, his superb debut solo album, there's little else a Charlatan fan will recognise. With the band taking a sabbatical Burgess was able to record I Believe from his Los Angeles home. As a result the album is filled with sunshine, The Beach Boys, The Byrds and Bob Dylan.
The West Coast feel to the record is evident from opening track "I Believe In The Spirit" which sees Burgess exploring the holy ghost, everlasting love and California soul in a falsetto vocal that runs through the album.
Stand out track "Only A Boy" finds Burgess reminiscing about days gone by, the innocence of youth and the search for love. All set against a jangly pop backdrop, which is almost Caribbean in flavour.
Where has the sullen shoe-gazing Burgess of the early 90s gone? The sunshine has clearly gone to his head as most of the songs here are warm and full of joy. "Oh My Corazan" is a cheerful ditty about lost love with its foot-tapping beat and sing-a-long chorus -it's a welcome surprise.
"Say Yes" is pure pop, the likes of which you'd never associate with Burgess. But by now, you're strangely drawn into his world - don't be embarrassed though, embrace it and sing along in top voice!
Although it's foreign territory, Burgess is clearly enjoying himself, as he launches into the more formulaic Dylan-esque track "Years Ago": 'I'm travelling down this chosen road that I ain't never been before, I'll walk alone and catch you later'.
"Spend The Night" is a simple heartfelt plea that is destined to become a first-dance classic at weddings. While "Po Boy Soul" reminds us that this is still Burgess' first solo attempt: 'I'm just a man who's trying his luck, I'm just a man who's trying to achieve the impossible'.
Despite his doubts he has nothing to worry about. I Believe is a perfect antidote to those post-summer blues - a record that will put a smile on the dourest of faces on the darkest of winter mornings.