Typical Music by Tim BurgessRelease date: September 23, 2022
Label: Bella Union
For most people, holding down a job in one of the UK’s most bands would be enough, but not for Tim Burgess. On top of his day job with The Charlatans, Tim also hosts a nightly listening party on Twitter, authored a number of books, and also has his own coffee brand. Even that’s not enough though, and he has also led a quiet but rather successful side-line as a solo artist, and from that comes not just a new album, but a new double album, Typical Music.
Not that there is very much typical about the music on offer here, and in casting aside his indie credentials, he has found a new lease of life as some sort of pop music polymath. Indeed, for an album which is just under 90 minutes long, the sheer amount of gleeful experimentation within these perfectly wrapped songs is a credit to his incessant urge to continuously create.
That gleeful spirit is the driving force through songs such as ‘Time That We Call Time”, where you can almost sense the band smiling as Tim performs his dance familiar from countless Charlatans gigs. That little roll of the arms, as the music takes over, a true indicator of someone who is not just a musician but also a fan of all music. The spirit of a record collection probably bigger than most houses seeps through everything that is on offer. Those of you who caught him on one of his recent gigs may well recognise the joyful ‘Curiosity’ which revs The Sparks up to 10, but that’s almost an anomaly here as underlying the majority of tracks here is soul powered funk, particularly redolent of Bowie. Not to generate any overt influences as Tim is not just a magpie of sounds, but also an engineer who turns them into something new.
It’s the little moments such as when the initial chorus rises up in ‘Kinetic Connection’, and the music suddenly blossoms into a glorious, harmonious moment of life-affirmation. Following this is the post-punk frenzy of the title track with an incessant beat which couldn’t more further removed from the soulful precursor. It shouldn’t work, but delivered on a double album of this magnitude, it makes perfect sense.
There is so much happening on this album that you will find yourself discovering new favourites long after those first initial listens. If it wasn’t for Tim’s charm then you may find yourself drifting away, but his exuberance carries you through the whole journey. It also works well as an album you can just dip into, with each song carrying all the hallmarks of the perfect pop song. It’s unlikely you will come across a more varied offering this year, and as for Mr Burgess…well, the day job may ultimately come calling (with news of a possible new Charlatans album), but he can rest assured that right here, right now he has made the album of his career. Not bad for someone this far along the road.