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The Charlatans tend to be the go-to-band whenever someone is creating a list for the most underrated Britpop bands. Their longevity, however, somehow outdoes that of the likes of Oasis and Blur. Over the years, they've been all over the place as they managed to go from exploring Madchester and Britpop to even experimenting with reggae. They obviously don't care about writing stadium anthems or reaching stardom; they just seem to have too much to do with music.

Their discography isn't just a spewing of random ideas either--and their influence on modern bands proves so. Jagwar Ma's music exemplifies the Charlatans' impact on contemporaries - it undoubtedly embraces the baggy rhythms of the Some Friendly-era Charlatans and the effortless and hazy singing style of lead singer Tim Burgess.

Perhaps, the new and the old always feed off each other. As newer bands like to extract bits and pieces from the past, bands like the Charlatans are revitalized by the present. Now sporting his eccentrically stylish blond bowl-cut, Burgess has found himself again through years of sobriety after experimenting with all types of drugs. He claims that he has been inspired by Twitter and it sounds genuine, judging from the amount of interaction he has with his followers and the fascination he finds in the real world. He isn't the man who wants people to blow cocaine up his anus or someone who lives with his drug dealer anymore; he seems to have rediscovered his mojo for living his life as his eyes glow with curiosity and pure enthusiasm for life--brighter than ever.

Modern Nature finds the Charlatans dealing with modern culture, chaos, and death. It is their first album since their drummer Jon Brookes' death, but not the first to be partially posthumous. Just as they continued on and released Tellin' Stories in 1997 after their original keyboardist Rob Collins' death, they pushed through and finished Modern Nature with Brookes' final recordings and some help from New Order's Stephen Morris, the Verve's Pete Salisbury, and Factory Floor's Gabe Gurnsey to fill the void of the deceased.

The first track of Modern Nature and its lead single, 'Talking In Tones,' instantly shows signs of catharsis within the album. It starts with a nuanced bassline backing a baggy rhythm as Burgess' words reverberate in perplexity, "I never liked the fact and I don't like to moan." When the chilling guitar chord strikes for the first time, one can picture Burgess having a lonesome walk through a desert sunset as he contemplates about his special someone. The chorus hints a sense of reminiscence, as the song enters a dramatic chord progression. "I feel strengthened by your presence," cries Burgess, and the line perhaps refers to Brookes. Though the lyrics already project the story pretty sufficiently, the transition between the second chorus and the end of the song makes it audibly vivid. There is a subtle crescendo as the melodies of Tony Rogers' organ intensify; the clashing instruments bring chaos to the picture as Burgess repeats, "It's like heaven." Shortly after, the original groove kicks in and everything is back in order. This instrumental contrast could certainly be the implication that the band has resolved to continue.

The Charlatans do experiment with the baggy style and their signature organ sound again, but it's done with ambition and is more unconventional than some tracks from Modern Nature that test out new textures. Although hi-hat dance beats and fruity guitar tones on tracks like 'So Oh' and 'Let the Good Times Be Never Ending' sound pleasing to the ear and all, they're all too polished, structured and pedestrian at times. 'Trouble Understanding' is a different story. It comes across as another catchy baggy tune within its first few seconds, but it experiments with different dynamics and mood shifts across the track. About halfway through, a warm guitar sequence, probably the most memorable on this record, is played across an interlude and builds anticipation for the jubilant and choral orchestration that comes shortly after.

'I Need You to Know' and 'Lean In' both take on a dramatic approach with a crunchy guitar tone and the type of organ sound one would hear on Noel Gallagher's High Flying Birds, and they're rightly placed back to back on the album. To close out Modern Nature, however, 'Lots to Say' just doesn't have the needle to sew it altogether. For some reason, 'Keep Enough,' which embraces consolation-mending melodies, tells, "My affection is moving," and asks, "Is this the beginning," didn't end up being the last.

Modern Nature won't be an album with three top ten singles, but it is certainly a valiant effort and plays a therapeutic role as the Charlatans deal with Brookes' death. Despite some trite moments, there are compelling sections spread throughout the album... it's just a matter of finding them.

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