The Charlatans, "Different Days" (BMG)
There are two parts to The Charlatans' 13th album, "Different Days" — the first with sunny melodies and the other which samples their roots in Manchester's baggy dance scene.
Opener "Hey Sunrise" leads with acoustic guitars and has a melancholy air like The Church's "Under the Milky Way." A melody that practically floats appears on "Solutions," with Tim Burgess' stretching the syllables.
More songs with a bit of bite like "Plastic Machinery" would have been welcome as Johnny Marr's guitar and Verve drummer Pete Salisbury add some kick to the proceedings. New Order's Stephen Morris also takes care of drums and programming on seven of the 13 tracks.
Crime writer Ian Rankin and Kurt Wagner from Lambchop each feature in a spoken interlude, distractions more than deep dissertations.
"Not Forgotten" kicks off imaginary part two, which sees the band setting their phasers to nostalgia and performing as if back in 1990 again, sharing a Madchester stage with The Stone Roses and Happy Mondays.
"There Will Be Chances" sounds like Stephen Duffy's Tin Tin and "The Same House," where they can all live and "wear matching shoes" reminds of 1991 sensations The Farm. Salisbury appears again on "Let's Go Together" which joyfully picks up the pace before "The Setting Sun," a brief instrumental.
Paul Weller puts his stamp on "Spinning Out" — co-writing the track while also contributing backing vocals, percussion and keyboards — which ends the album with a return to a more organic feel, "trying to get back there again."
The Charlatans have repeated cycles of rises and falls in a nearly 30-year career and the swirling "Different Days" is a reminder of the good times.