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- Somewhere Beautiful by The Chills
7/10 Clinton Staff review, 11 October 2013
Barely a week goes by when I don’t compare this album or that album to The Chills. They were probably my favourite of the mid '80s-era New Zealand bands and one of my happiest teenage memories was hearing Simon Mayo playing ‘Heavenly Pop Hit’ on the Radio 1 Breakfast Show. In a proper world it should have gone to number one and stayed there forever, alas that was their brush with the big time and an album or so later they’d had it.
Of late, whether by photosynthesis or by kids raiding their parents' collections or some other unfathomable drip down process, a hell of a lot of young bands are sounding just like them. To that end, I was pleased when I saw what I thought was a ‘best of’ appear in the office. About time, I thought, and a good place for people to start and find their way into their wonderful world. Sadly, to my frustration, this is not a ‘best of’ but instead is a live album and as a result will probably only appeal to diehards rather than the inquisitive.
First up, I’m no fan of live albums, I can barely think of a live album I like, possibly Shudder To Think’s well recorded and energetic ‘Live In a Room’ but that's it. Anyway your purchase will depend on how much you want a Chills live album in your life. It's reasonably recorded, Martin Phillips' vocals are a little strangled in places but it does the job. The songs, however are still spectactularly good. ‘Wet Blanket’ is as eerie and as chilling as I remember, ‘House with a Hundred Rooms’ exemplifies The Chills' blueprint of jangling guitars, wandering melodies, wheezing organs and an economic approach to songwriting which is simple but always effective.
‘Pink Frost’ is one of their high water marks, a track with an eerie atmosphere that I’ve never found again in any song done by anyone ever. It's played a little fast but is extremely good. ‘Heavenly Pop Hit’ is as joyous as ever and what a song. What a fucking song! While ‘I Love My Leather Jacket’ (an uplifting song rendered melancholy by the subject matter regarding the jacket which had been given to Phillips by deceased drummer Alan Bull) predates Stereolab’s early two-chord romps by several years. A great band, but a record possibly for completists only.
9/10 Paul reed Customer review, 17th December 2013
The Chills live lp is a triple vinyl delight of what the Chills do best great indie pop and great indie pop music at its best is an experience of the moment, a spontaneous eruption of talent and inspiration interacting with the listener. This is what a live album can deliver better than a professionally massaged studio album, and Somewhere Beautiful is a soaring testament to live albums. A must have for Chills fans.
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