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A Head Full of Ideas


Artist: The Charlatans
Label: The Recordings
5 053760 075424
Release Date: 15 October 2021

Released on Then Recordings through Republic Of Music, A Head Full Of Ideas is a five album, and exclusive 7”, career-spanning box set that sums up The Charlatans remarkable progress from 1990 Manchester scene hopefuls to one of the UK’s most enduring and best-loved bands. The band have notched up 13 Top 40 studio albums - three of them number ones - alongside 22 hit singles, four of them top 10. The rollercoaster highs have been accompanied by some shattering lows, any which one of them could have felled a less resilient band, from nervous breakdowns to near bankruptcy and the deaths of two founder members. Somehow, they have not just carried on but adapted and transformed...

In the '90s, when The Charlatans were at the height of their fame I was student with quite a keen interest in current bands of the day. But, as hard as I thought about it, before listening to this album, I couldn't recall a single one of their songs. Mind you, I'm old. My memories not what it once was, so as I played this album through for the first time, I was shocked to discover I could only recall a couple of tracks.

Worse than that, I really didn't rate them as a band at all. As song after song rumbled on I couldn't believe how dull and formulaic each piece was. For me, there was little that was memorable and certainly nothing I'd want to listen to again in a hurry. So I was left wondering how on earth the band even got a record label to sign them in the first place, let alone reach the dizzy heights of Brit fame that they managed back in the day.

If you were a huge fan then you will probably lap this up. But honestly, I really don't get what all the fuss was about. Their just another run-of-the-mill Northern band (I'm a Northerner BTW) whose material really hasn't aged well at all.


Nick Smithson

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