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Sunday, August 14, 2005

Bigger. Bolder. Easier To Read.
Driving through the mountains of southern Alaska the other day, we came to two conclusions about British rock band The Charlatans.

One, the first four tracks of Wonderland comprise arguably the most unintentionally-insane insane stretches of rock music recorded in the last 15 years.

And two, the Charlatans are arguably the most inconsequential band of any consequence (defined here as "having released three or more albums of some note") that we can think of right now.

This is not to say we don't like the Charlatans. We don't love them. But we have been known to pass some time with the two of their records we own (though this should also indicate that we cannot claim an intimate knowledge of their history and accomplishment). In fact there was probably a time in university when we listened to them quite often.

We just can't think of anything that ever came of them. What exactly did the Charlatans do? Who did they inspire? What matter of importance did they ever represent? What moment in time did they ever crystallize?

Yes, sure, they were rather popular in Britain and were variously part of several scenes and movements over there. But without even trying you could probably name 15 other bands from the same period who were obviously more "important." If it came right down to it, we'd even say that Bush meant more. Because at least they had Gavin. And he was pretty. And would go on to become the only man to our knowledge to have both won Gwen Stefani's hand in marriage and worked with the Blue Man Group.

The Charlatans certainly existed as more than nothing, but what did they matter? Maybe it's the altitude or the distinct lack of cable television, but we can think of no band in recent memory who were around long enough but mattered less.

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