There’s a lot wrong with social media, which probably makes the good news stories all the more heartwarming. In the midst of the UK’s first national lockdown, with the touring circuit closed and the entertainment industry facing an uncertain future, The Charlatans’ Tim Burgess came up with a simple idea; by having an online listening party for a classic album, he’d help unite thousands of isolated music lovers not just from Britain but around the globe. Within a few weeks it had snowballed into a phenomenon, bolstered by the artists themselves joining in to share their insights during the playback. It’s a concept that’s proved resilient, with Tim’s Twitter Listening Parties nearing it’s 1000th episode.
In the meantime the band themselves have been making plans for a belated 30th birthday party. Head Full of Ideas celebrates a career which has ebbed and flowed, from an early phase as part of the Madchester scene in the very early 90’s, through the Britpop era during which they peaked commercially on to a more recent refinding of themselves in the wake of 2006’s near-disastrous venture into reggae and dub, Simpatico.
Depending on your fanhood, everything here’s been cannily taken care of. For those who just want the hits there’s a slimmed down version which has all the bangers you’ll need including the Only One I Know, Just When You Think That It’s Over and neo-classics such as Come Home Baby. There’s also an uplifting welter of live material if you’re into that kind of thing, plus a hefty slug of demos, whilst true spotters can find across the six-vinyl deluxe edition a remixes collection full of “Is this even the same song?” trickery.
Tim Burgess didn’t have to start connecting people on the internet, but he did. The Charlatans do have to make music though because they should – and Head Full of Ideas proves why both things are rare but happy wins for the good guys.
You can read a full review here.