Album: Tim Burgess

I Believe, PIAS/Straight Trippin'
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The Independent Culture

Tim Burgess's solo debut extends further the fascination he so clearly feels for the various strains of American music that feed into his own musical vision. Indeed, the fascination has been transferred to the location itself, judging by "I Believe in the Spirit", which finds Burgess testifying "I believe in West Coast" and "I believe in California soul", as if the very place were a spiritual touchstone. To give him his due, The Charlatan's singer tries his best to emulate his musical heroes, adding over-egged Brian Wilson-ian harmonies to "Be My Baby", adopting a careworn Dylanesque manner in "Years Ago", and devising a blend of tack piano and antique horns for "Love to Spend the Night" that recalls The Band and Van Dyke Parks - though neither as clever nor as convincing as either. Likewise, the horns and strings of "We All Need Love",which compares badly with Josh Rouse's more sincere and tuneful treatment of a similar sentiment in "Love Vibration". Which wouldn't be so irritating were he not so bumptious about his abilities on "Held in Straps", a sprightly two-step in which he claims, "Even when I'm crap, I'm still too good for you". Rather more accurate is his self-assessment in "Po' Boy Soul", that "I'm just a man who's trying his luck with a poor boy's soul".

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