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coverpic flag New Zealand - Full Moon 249 - 12/14/16

The Chills
Kaleidoscope World (Deluxe Reissue)
Flying Nun Records / Captured Tracks

I can still recall the feeling when listening to The Chills for the very first time. There were thousands of jangly guitar pop bands at the time, but The Chills had an extra dimension to them - a bit of a twist to their delicate melodies, and a whimsical charm that was simply irresistible. Somewhat familiar, yet exotic, and I was immediately hooked. It inspired a series of radio shows at a local radio station in downtown Oslo at the time, creating a small following of people becoming absorbed in the rough and unpolished beauty of The Chills, The Verlaines, The Bats and a wealth of other bands being released on the intriguing Flying Nun label.

Kaleidoscope World was originally released as a minialbum in 1986, assembling eights songs from the four early singles/EP's of the band, a year before their first album proper was released. It has been re-released several times thru the years, and this 2016-release adds all songs from the Lost EP (1985), both songs from the single 'I Love my leather jacket' (1986) as well as six odd tracks of novelties and alternative versions. The latter being the only exclusive stuff on this release.

I must admit that I prefer this 'best of the early years' collection to any of their five studio albums - all of them quality albums from this quality band, but there's so much going on in these early songs. You can hear small bits of XTC, The Jam, The Fall, Velvet Underground, and a lot of Robyn Hitchcock and The Soft Boys in here - but the sound is very much unique to The Chills. Shining melodies, sometimes bordering on the naïve, sometimes with a chilling dark undercurrent. 'Pink Frost', their second single being a prime example of this with its dark gothic storyline moving through the layered melody structure, creating an atmosphere that is endlessly bewitching. Another standout track here - showing the more uncomplicated and naïve side of the band - is the rolling folk tune of 'Bee Bah Bee Bah Bee Boe', an incredibly catchy singalong ditty of a song. Lots more of the same of course, and it still sounds incredibly fresh, 30 years down the line.

Pleased to meet Martin Phillips and his Chills again. Truly lovely stuff!

Copyright © 2016 Trond M Evensen e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Chills articles/reviews: Molten Gold b/w Pink Frost, Silver Bullets, The BBC Sessions.

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