Friday, September 2, 2016

The Chills - Kaleidoscope World

The Chills shimmer and chime, crackle with energy and wit, and permanently invade your brain with hooks and melodies.  Discovering a new song from the band is like coming home and finding that your lover has decorated your favorite space with Christmas lights, opened a bottle of champagne, and decided that clothing is unnecessary for the weekend.  Of course, Kaleidoscope World, the newly expanded and re-issued compilation from Flying Nun isn't comprised of new songs, but rather is a fulsome collection of all of the band's early singles, including the songs included on the groundbreaking Dunedin Double compilation the label issued in 1982.  It is an extended look at the band's early years, now with 24 songs that display the breadth and complexity of Martin Phillipps' songwriting.  Phillipps is equally adept at styling sunny, jangling guitar pop, organ-driven garage rock, punk-tinged rockers and post punk songs that ventured into art rock, he also displayed an emotional range that embraced darkness, regret, mortality and insecurity to balance the often peppy arrangements.  Like probably all long-time fans of The Chills, I have my favorites among the early songs included in this compilation.  "Pink Frost", the title track, and "I Love My Leather Jacket" often are mentioned.  For me, it is "Satin Doll, closely followed by "Rolling Moon" and "Frantic Drift".

If you are a fan of the band, this collection is essential unless you already own all the songs.  And even if you do, the extras may tip the balance for you.  For those without a thorough collection, we give this set our high recommendation.  The music of The Chills is pop, is art, is a slice of humanity.

Kaleidoscope World  is available in vinyl (2 LPs), CD and digital formats.  It addition to early singles, it includes some demos, B-sides and live tracks, as well as photos, posters, liner notes, and lists of the multitude of band rosters.

Flying Nun order page

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