Charlatans front man Tim Burgess is a gracious bandmate. While side-project solo albums by some lead singers might spell trouble for a group's chemistry, Burgess has managed to record, release and pro

Charlatans front man Tim Burgess is a gracious bandmate. While side-project solo albums by some lead singers might spell trouble for a group's chemistry, Burgess has managed to record, release and promote a solo disc all within the context of band downtime, and meanwhile hasn't stopped or slowed his commitment to the Charlatans, 15 years into their career.

Said solo effort, "I Believe," will be released April 26 in the United States, via a deal with Koch Records. But U.K. and European audiences got their first taste of the album way back in September 2003, when it was released there by PIAS.

The set's U.S. release date is two years after Burgess handed in the finished tapes, and he admits, "it's quite weird talking about stuff I did so long ago." But there is a reason.

"It came out on PIAS in Europe and Japan and I couldn't find anyone to put it out at the time in America," he says. "Then Koch showed some interest, but I was in the middle of making the Charlatans record [2004's "Up at the Lake"] so I put it on the back burner. Then, when we finished off touring with the Charlatans and I got back home, I started concentrating on getting this out full time."

"I Believe" should definitely appeal to Stateside fans of the Charlatans, as it's dominated by Burgess' recognizable voice and sense of melody. He does stretch out a bit, as on the confessional "Rough Time" and a heartfelt take on Bob Marley's "Who the Cap Fit," complete with a bit of electro-funk. But there are also classic Burgess flourishes, like the radio-ready "Only a Boy" and the buoyant rocker "All I Ever Do."

U.S. audiences should have time to relax and enjoy the record, even with the two-year release-date lag, because Burgess is in no hurry to make another solo disc. Yes, he's busy writing songs, but it's all for the ninth Charlatans album, which the group is aiming to ready for a fall release through a new deal with Sanctuary Music Group.

"I'm working on a few things now, but I've not saved anything for my next solo album," the singer says. "I just write for the moment and everything I'm doing at this time is for the next Charlatans record. If I did make a solo album tomorrow, it'd be completely different from what 'I Believe' is. As opposed to being bright and shiny it could be quite dark," he adds.

Not that Burgess' life is a pit of despair. He's living with his wife in his adopted home of Los Angeles, and doing club DJ gigs along side his rock'n'roll day job. And he's trying to plan a trip to Sweden with the band to record its new album. He calls life in the Charlatans "still exciting."

"The reality is that we've gone through an awful lot together and I guess that we've kept pretty true to the idea of what we wanted to do," he admits. "We've gotten messed up a couple of times, but it's the story of five people battling on."