17 Seconds Christmas Posts 2014 part 2


Saint Etienne have been responsible for some truly glorious pop music since 1990. Having scored several hits by 1993, and that year having released the fantastic So Tough set (which may still be their best album), they finished off the year by releasing this duet with Tim Burgess of The Charlatans (who were then about to release their third album Up To Our Hips) ‘I Was Born On Christmas Day.’

It was a minor hit – and did result in a Top Of The Pops performance which can be seen below:

This track can still be bought online.

I’m in the middle of trying to rank my top tracks of the year for my annual Festive Fifty, which will hopefully appear in the next 48 hours…

Album Review: Charlatans

Album review: The Charlatans ‘You Cross My Path’

A few years back, watching the Charlatans at T in the Park, I turned round to my mate and said ‘ You know, I bet they’ll even outlast Blur.’ As it happens, this is true. Veterans of both Baggy and Britpop, while some of their contemporaries have even reformed (Happy Mondays and Inspiral Carpets), the Charlatans have survived a well-documented hell of a lot since the release of their first single ‘indian Rope’ back in 1990.

And now their tenth album You Cross My Path joins us. Alan McGee is telling anyone who’ll listen (that’s still quite a lot of us, actually) that it’s their best since 1997’s Telling Stories. It comes as the first album on the elephant’s graveyard, sorry, long-running indie label that is Cooking Vinyl, and until it is released in May is available FREE via XFM (see link below).

Right. Phew. statutory reference to survivor/longevity status and the download availability out of the way. So, is the album actually any good? Well, I don’t know that I would go so far as to agree with Alan McGee, but then my favourite album is 2001’s Wonderland. But it is another excellent collection of songs and it stands well against many of their other releases, and certainly heads high above both Between Ten and 11th and Us and Us Only. Opener ‘Oh! Vanity’ periodically threatens to go into Abba’s Arrival mixed with Big Country but holds it together well. The title track still sounds great (and indeed made the 17 Seconds Festive Fifty last year).

The tunes work well together, and whilst they don’t break any new ground, this should still bring a smile to the faces of their fans, though I wonder if some of the tracks will work better live. The production is a little lightweight, compared to some earlier albums, but it mercifully is not too slick. As more acts go down the download route, why not judge for yourselves?


Download the Charlatans’ new album for free here

It will be released on Cooking Vinyl in May.

The Charlatans’ official site is here

Their Myspace is here

UPDATE: March 8: Anyone who thinks this move is commercial suicide might be interested to read this

Don’t Cross the Charatans’ path!

Feeling shattered, and in desperate need of rest, and as usual, have too much to do.

However, have dragged myself out of bed long enough to download for free -yup, free!- and legally the new Charlatans single, courtesy of XFM Scotland. their new album is going to be available for free the same way next year, and it seems manager Alan McGee (yup, him, the one that signed Oasis) has realised this is the way the wind is blowing. No kidding…

And what of the song itself? Pretty damn great, and up there with the rest of the best stuff they’ve done over the last…seventeen years (i have long maintained that I think The Charlatans will outlast virtually ever other band of their original era). I’m already playing it for the second time this morning, and it’s only been available for about twelve minutes.

Download it here and let me know what you think