Saturday, February 9, 2008

Adorable - Sunshine Smile EP

In the grand scheme of the shoegaze/dream-pop hierarchy, Adorable is probably a 2nd or 3rd tier band in terms of relevance. Part of that is due to their relative obscurity and part of it can be attributed to the fact they abandoned the sound in favor of a more accessible British Pop vibe much in the same fashion contemporaries Ride and Lush did toward the end of their careers. However, nothing in their prolific yet short three-year run is suspect by any means. All seven EP's and two LP's have moments of greatness on par with that of a Ride or a Swervedriver or a Chapterhouse. Sunshine Smile is the first of many EP's the band released and the most in-line with the dream-pop sound they are often aligned with. The original version of this single was actually shelved before release and featured the songs "I'll Be Your Saint" (later released as it's own single) and "Breathless" (later released on their first LP Against Perfection) as the B-Sides. A few months later it was re-recorded and released with "A To Fade In" and "Sunburnt" in place of the two aforementioned tracks. To be honest, I'm not certain which version would have made for a better single as "A To Fade In" is one of my favorite Adorable tracks, but either way, all the songs ended up being released at some point and both versions of the EP are fantastic. All three songs on the released version of Sunshine Smile are soaked in delay and heavy on the ride cymbal with singer Piotr Fijalkowski's whispery, effortlessly executed voice leading each track. Though they aren't one of the heavy hitters of the early-mid 90's Creation roster, this EP is definitely a "must have" for those into the label and the sound that goes along with it.

Adorable - Sunshine Smile

Thursday, February 7, 2008

The Chameleons - Fan and the Bellows

My introduction to The Chameleons came in the form of a cover song on the 7" Will You (you know, the one that looks EXACTLY like their other 7" If They Do) by Louisville emo-turned-dream-pop band Elliott. They give "Fan and the Bellows" is given the Elliott treatment that foreshadowed the direction they would take on later records. At any rate, I love(d) this cover and set my record player on repeat so I could keep listening to it over and over. So, my search for actual Chameleons records led me to Strange Music, the most readily available due to it's release on "alternative friendly" major label, Geffen Records. Though it's a great album, it wasn't what I wanted. I wanted the jagged, post-punk influence riffing of "Fan and the Bellows" and I didn't even want to wade through anything else of theirs until I got my hands on what I was after. Since I was jobless and living at home still, Napster was the most viable and economic option for finding this (as I exhausted record stores in my area to find it) and proved to be a success. As it turns out, "Fan and the Bellows" was merely a single and conveniently re-released with many others, demos and outtakes for a compilation aptly titled Fan and the Bellows: A Collection of Classic Early Recordings. Before they hit their stride as an even more brilliant dreamy, atmospheric pop band with What Does Anything Mean? Basically. and Strange Times, The Chameleons were this moody but not overtly dark rock band not too far off the map of what their Manchester peers and followers would create. This comp is a good mix of what they were and a look at what they would become. For me, "Nostalgia" has become my new "Fan and the Bellows" and I've been thinking for years if I were ever to DJ somewhere for a night I would close with this song because I don't think anything could really follow it after a night of drinking with your friends and going home feeling uncertain.

The Chameleons - Fan and the Bellows