Emerging out of semi-nowhere -- well, Northwich -- the Charlatans UK were saddled with a name that lent itself to jibes about their quality, perceived bandwagon jumping and the burden of being a one-hit wonder with "The Only One I Know." Then Some Friendly, the group's debut, planted itself at the top of the UK charts; while the rest of the '90s were up-and-down for the band, this album set the band on its way. Drawing on Blunt's background in mod and psych outfits, Collins' outrageously funky keyboards and Burgess' unexpected star quality -- even if his voice wasn't the strongest -- Some Friendly is just that, a friendly and fun vibe. Some of the lyrics betray Burgess' sharp-tongued punk background -- "You're Not Very Well," the opener, expresses anything but sunny sentiments -- but otherwise Some Friendly delivers everything from '60s beat groove to Madchester bagginess with verve. True, the group was still following in the Roses/Mondays slipstream -- "Fool's Gold" was the blueprint for much of the album -- but the individual delights of the slow trance "Opportunity," "Polar Bear"'s upfront rhythms and "Flower"'s slightly ominous funk all show the band's abilities well. "The Only One I Know" remains the best-known cut, Blunt's crisp bass and Collins' Deep Purple-inspired keyboards providing its charge. But Some Friendly's hidden masterpiece comes at the very end -- "Sproston Green," a monster jam based on Collins' supreme keyboard work, with Burgess' soaring lyric matching the massive surge of the music. It remains the concluding number of the band's sets to this day for good reason.
AllMusic Review by Ned Raggett