A/V Room









Tim Burgess - I Believe

Review: Jack Foley

TIM Burgess describes his debut solo album as a chance to explore some personal preferences, stating that I Believe is 'more free than the sound of the band'.

The long-time Californian resident has clearly been taken by his West Coast life, and merrily goes about delivering lyrics such as 'I believe in the West Coast'... and 'I believe in California soul', freely admitting that such sentiments are not something he thought the band would want to explore.

He even suggests that there is a selfishness about much of his solo work, before declaring confidently that it is also a 'cheer you up record' that deserves to be turned up.

Whether Charlatans fans will think the same, however, remains to be seen, for this is quite different from what they may have expected.

I Believe is a personal journey through Burgess' musical inspirations, taking in The Rolling Stones of Exile on Main Street fame, as well as Motown, funk, country and even Mexicana.

And it is a consistently enjoyable and frequently uplifting journey that is well worth taking for fans and non-converts alike.

The Charlatans' sound really only gets a look in during the current single, I Believe in the Spirit, when the music evokes memories of the Wonderland LP, while Burgess' newfound confidence with the falsetto is never far away.

But just as you think this is only a slight departure, things take a dramatic detour, with the hopelessly hip likes of Only A Boy and Oh My Corazon allowing Burgess to finally be let off the leash.

Only a Boy, in particular, is a happy-go-lucky horn blasting, B-line shaking trip through the happier side of Tim's West Coast life, while Oh My Corazon, with its breezy guitars and feelgood chorus, could quite easily become a future single.

In fact, it could even be argued that certain tracks lie closer to the mainstream than much of The Charlatans' recent material.

But don't worry, Burgess is not selling out. For as catchy and throwaway as some songs remain, there are also those which will probably have listeners scratching their heads in disbelief.

Years Ago, in particular, is a cowboy-based folk song, packed with 'doo, do, doos' that evokes memories of experimental Stones and early Paul Simon, while Say Yes, which quickly follows, is a glorious Motown throwback that is a million miles away from anything the band has done.

I Believe, in short, is a good-natured personal experiment which, unlike some solo ventures, never forgets about the listener.

It is brimming with well-written, melody-laden songs - We All Need Love and the mouth-organ led, Be My Baby being another two stand-outs - which do excatly as Burgess intended - cheer you up.

And we all need that, sometimes...


Track listing:
1. I Believe In The Spirit
2. Held In Straps
3. Only A Boy
4. We All Need Love
5. Oh My Corazon
6. Be My Baby
7. Years Ago
8. Say Yes
9. Spend The Night
10. Po’ Boy Soul
11. All I Ever Do

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