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Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Review: Chameleons UK - Script Of The Bridge

The Chameleons UK are a band I know of but don't know enough about to say I know them. So, I picked up their 1983 debut LP Script Of The Bridge and started from there.

Even their fans seemingly can't describe them, or maybe they don't want to answer the question since they sound like many others that came before. They remind me of The Teardrop Explodes, Simple Minds, the Psychedelic Furs and Modern English. Others make completely different lists. Script of the Bridge is a very good record, a deceptively good record, it's only flaw a lack of variety in tempo. Every song except the last is the same mid-tempo, and the closer is even slower.

I'd be surprised if they didn't have a song on a John Hughes soundtrack. It has that 80s, Valley Girl, New Wave Two-Step, It's-Goth-If-I-Can-Stare-At-Myself-While-I-Dance feel.

I remember "I Don't Fall" and "Up The Down Escalator" being hits. "Here Today" utilizes a didgeridoo, which I only mention because I'm amazed I remembered that's what they're called. It also has a sweet Spanish guitar sound also found on "Pleasure and Pain". I'm stumped as to why they open "Monkeyland" with the same sound used by the English Beat in "Dream Home In NZ".

All the songs are great on their own. I just wish they mixed it up more. Each song got better each time I listened to the album but I lost the desire to listen to it all the way through. All because they have the same tempo. I never could dance the New Wave Two-Step anyhow.


Anonymous New Evolutionist said...

Burgess' lyrics are generally too wistful to be Goth, I'd say. I don't recall too many Mancunian Goth bands--they'd probably get beaten up, or mercilessly insulted by Mark E. Smith in a drunken rage. Not that anyone would be able to make out what he said.

Script has a few moments of youthful over-directness, musically speaking (I'm thinking Pleasure and Pain and High As You Can Go) but most of it has aged well.

Emerson, what era Simple Minds are you thinking of? I don't hear too much of them. The Furs first couple of albums had that same kind of grunt to them, for sure. I also hear the Comsat Angels, although this might be because of the similarities between the vocalists; I think the two bands were more-or-less contemporaneous, but I don't know much about the CAs.

3:15 PM

Blogger Emerson said...


If you know what the hell Mancunian is I bow to your superior knowledge. I find a bit of neo-semi-post-punk-Goth in this record I know exceedingly well from being in many dance clubs at that time. Crapola, I hang out at a Goth club now. I know what "other" songs are accepted in that general scene.

The only Simple Minds I know by title is "Don't You Forget About Me" but why I say Simple Minds is they define for me a certain sound that helped drive me away from New Wave and into an all-punk diet. The Comsat Angels weren't in my first list I wrote at 4AM while I walked for 2 hours. I'm very instinctive at my first listen and certain bands come to mind that don't come up later. I like the Comsat Angels but they recorded a bunch of filler too. The Chameleons are probably the better band. The 1st Furs album is thrash hardcore compared to this album.

But like I say, I bow to you, Evol. I only have the first Fall album. Some people have all 237.

3:55 PM

Anonymous New Evolutionist said...

Don't get your hackles up.

I guess when I think of Goth from that period, I think of The Mission and those shitty Batcave bands (Alien Sex Fiend et al). The Chameleon's Goth/melodramatic side is usually tempered with something else.

Pick up/borrow "Reel to Real" or "Empires and Dance." Quite different sounding from "Don't You..." I think you'll find. Hard to believe it's the same band, actually.

Mancunian=from Manchester

5:43 AM

Blogger Emerson said...


Are you saying I have feathers, dress flax, am a dog or a fishing fly? Well, I never!


Main Entry: 1hack┬Ěle
Pronunciation: 'ha-k&l
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English hakell; akin to Old High German hAko hook -- more at HOOK
1 a : one of the long narrow feathers on the neck or saddle of a bird b : the neck plumage of the domestic fowl
2 : a comb or board with long metal teeth for dressing flax, hemp, or jute
3 plural a : erectile hairs along the neck and back especially of a dog b : TEMPER, DANDER
4 a : an artificial fishing fly made chiefly of the filaments of a cock's neck feathers b : filaments of cock feather projecting from the head of an artificial fly

9:07 AM

Anonymous New Evolutionist said...

I retract my original posting and replace it with: THIS ALBUM FUCKING KICKS!

Now, I really must go and dress for dinner, don't you know, old chap. We're having the Blythe-Normingtons over. They're just back from Italy.

10:53 AM


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