Sometimes the best songs are the simple ones. They don’t always require a Stairway To Heaven approach. Just stumble across an infectious riff, write a good melody around it and wait for the royalty cheques to hit the doormat. Forever? Impossible? Of course, in reality it is not as easy as it sounds otherwise we’d all be swimming in guitar shaped pools rather than the pissy ones at our local leisure centre. The Charlatans somehow make this art-form sound effortless, a quality that some of the greatest bands in history have possessed and subsequently influenced followers to produce music of their own and continue this beautiful cycle.
My Foolish Pride, a rather confessional second outing from the band’s new album Who We Touch, is a striking contrast to its predecessor, Love Is Ending – a punchy tune driven by angry guitars. It is the piano which sits in the driving seat on this slow burner, one that requires an investment in perseverance before it delivers the rewards. Its polished production and contagious melody, aided by Tim’s trademark, youthful, emotive sneer make it a joyful listen. Despite not kicking down the door to the world of commercial high’s that many former hits such as Love Is The Key and The Only One I know achieved, it is a fine effort that doesn’t make the hugely contrived mistake of trying to recreate past glories that many bands this far into their career would walk right into.
Subtle and understated, yet musically rich, its unadorned piano riff whisks the song along at a pace that just about pushes it out of ballad territory. It’s pop without being too pop, and different enough to keep themselves interested, demonstrating evolution without completely alienating their audience. Hearing the ‘make love not war’ lyric is akin to opening your favourite bag of crisps and finding one of them is burnt, it’s not exactly the end of the world and won’t significantly ruin your enjoyment of the experience but you may wince a bit.
My foolish pride is a somewhat downbeat and poignant track, yet it maintains an air of positivity and elements of the Charlatans that captivated our eardrums the first time round over two decades ago.