Some Friendly 7½ ( 1990
You're Not Very Well / White Shirt / The Only One I Know / Opportunity / Then / 109 Pt.2 / Polar Bear / Believe You Me / Flower / Sonic / Sproston Green
The Charlatans or Charlatans if you prefer released this album in the wake of the stunning sales and acclaim of The Stone Roses debut LP. The Stone Roses debut was special and when they released the 'One Love' single, a good part of the entire UK just stopped, and listened. Around 1990 lots of bands came crawling out the woodwork but The Charlatans were one of the better ones and at the time of writing have enjoyed 22 (22!) UK top 40 singles. 10 albums by Charlatans have hit the UK top ten official albums chart. They have endured - and the frontman Tim Burgess enjoys a prosperous solo career as well. So, they have done themselves proud.
I 'legendarily' do as little research as possible for my reviews. It has got me into some bother as times, but the following facts I would not dare guess at, with whatever knowledge I may or may not have. These are crucial things about the band in general and their staying power. Well, ok, the things happened long after this album was released but you know me. Rather than do 'an introduction' on an artist page I just stick said 'introduction' onto the start of the first review. Advantages or not, as the case may be. Band member Rob Collins was charged with armed robbery. He later was killed in a traffic accident, 22 July 1996. 13 August 2013 the band's drummer 44-year-old Jon Brookes died from a brain tumour. Not such great luck, really.
RIGHT! We have here in front of us their debut LP 'Some Friendly' released in 1990 and selling well and charting, what, maybe top five in the UK album charts? I haven't checked, just trying to remember. The organ/keyboard sound is fairly important by the way to the sound of this album and vocalist Tim Burgess sounded near enough to Stone Roses vocalist Ian Brown to ensure the band were popular. Eleven songs, forty seven minutes, starting with the prominently organ led 'You're Not Very Well' with a repeating bass, a repeating organ and slashes of guitar here and there. The lead single was 'The Only One I Know', very much in keeping with the indie/manchester sound of the time. It peaked at number nine and spent an impressive number of weeks on the charts - especially impressive as the video was utterly forgetful.
An album highlight arrives with 'Opportunity' which slows the tempo of the album down, the bass guitar is great and mixes again with the organ very well - this time over near to seven minutes of faintly hypnotic music. So, next? Well, pretty much I would recommend skipping over five tracks and listening to the closing track 'Sproston Green' as the album encore it was decidedly designed to be. The organ/keyboards are prominent, the bass is good as it is throughout the album actually and the guitar is atmospheric, playing riffs and sounds I think, rather than melodies, as the melodies are all here already. The ending of the song has the keys/organ/bass/guitar operating in perfect harmony, and all is well. So, a decent debut album, if the second half was better, perhaps a classic one.