The Charlatans UK

Different Days

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As a title, Different Days certainly suggests the Charlatans have pushed themselves into a new era. In a sense, they were forced to change. After mourning founding drummer Jon Brookes on 2015's Modern Nature, the group has moved into a different phase with Brookes replacement Pete Salisbury, formerly of the Verve. Anchored by Salisbury, the Charlatans aren't quite as traditionally minded as they used to be and they embrace a new fluidity not only in their rhythms -- which are sometimes enhanced by drum programming -- but their attitude toward collaborations. Former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr plays on three songs, Brian Jonestown Massacre's Anton Newcombe plays on a couple of tracks, and Paul Weller co-wrote the closing "Spinning Out." What's interesting is that none of these spotlights are flashy -- the guitars don't call attention to themselves, Weller's piano adds color but it doesn't provide the foundation for "Spinning Out" -- yet the presence of the additional musicians is instrumental in the variety of Different Days. True, this variety is rather subtle, partially due to the doggedly low-key production, but underneath its simmering shimmer Different Days offers spins on classic pop, electronic soul, and late-night chill. Perhaps it's quiet exploration, but the Charlatans embrace the elastic possibilities of new avenues here, and the results are rewarding.

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