Tim Burgess - Oh No I Love You

by Lawrence Poole Rating:7.5 Release Date:2012-10-01

It's been some trip, that's for sure. 2012 finds Mr Burgess living in a converted warehouse in Tottenham, genesis of last year's London riots. Yet after nearly 25 years in the business of show, the floppy-fringed frontman is clearly in a reflective place now.

Living back in Blighty after a lengthy spell in Lalaland, The Charlatans' mainman has returned to solo duties almost a decade after his last sojourn into 'going it alone' territory with 2003's I Believe. His day job is no longer the all-consuming entity it used to be and, having celebrated the 20 anniversary of their debut offering, Some Friendly, you could be forgiven for believing it was time the baggy survivors did wind down their schedules.

This, of course, gives the workaholic Burgess the perfect opportunity to plough his own furrow on Oh No I Love You. For someone who has always put himself on the line through his live touring, radio work and even penchant for tweeting (he arguably single-handedly put the colourful exclaimation 'amazeballs' into the mainstream ether), Burgess' personal life always remained largely private. That was until earlier this year when his riveting autobiography Tellin' Stories hit the shelves. After catching a reading of it at an ornate Piccadilly church over the summer, I was again engaged by his shy, yet worldly presence, sense of fun and musical passion.

On this 10-track offering, we find Burgess at the start of something new. With a new beau to pay homage to, Oh No I Love You sees the Northwich star opening up his heart to intriguing effect. Opener 'White' is a lilting slice of sun-kissed West Coast pop, while 'The Doors of Then' bounds out of the stereo like a loveable puppy.
It's on track three, 'A Case for Vinyl', that things take a more sombre turn - using the relic of vinyl as a metaphor for survival.

'The Graduate' finds the 45-year-old in more rocky territory, while 'Anytime Minutes' and 'The Economy' prove the old-timer hasn't lost any of his knack for penning tuneful indie-pop with a shimmer. Clocking in at six-minutes-18-seconds, album closer 'A Gain' is another sleepy, thoughtful affair, outroing with a wonderfully stirring choir interlude, which perhaps draws on all his recent experiences with transcendental meditation.

Burgess remains a much-underrated songwriter and one of the nation's finest indie music enthusiasts, even if his current barnet - think Kurt Cobain meets The Byrds - is his worst in some time (and that's saying something!).

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