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Chrysalids - The Castle, Manchester, 5/8/2012

  by Dixie Ernill

published: 27 / 8 / 2012

Chrysalids - The Castle, Manchester, 5/8/2012


At The Castle in Manchester, Dizie Ernill watches ill-fated indie guitar duo the Chrysalids play an emotive and intimate gig to launch their debut album, 'Neither Love Nor Money', which has finally come out nearly twenty five years after they first formed

The Chrysalids' debut album, 'Neither Love Nor Money', has taken longer than most to come to fruition. A lot longer! The story begins nearly a quarter of a century ago when singer John Wood, having recently left excellent indie-pop outfit 1000 Violins, moved to Manchester and formed the Chrysalids with guitarist Yves Altana. A string of live dates, including a festival in France alongside the Cocteau Twins, followed, but in the days before downloads and MySpace only one track from their impressive canon actually received an official release as part of a Manchester bands compilation album that sadly sank without trace. Despite some positive press the Chrysalids became a mere footnote in Manchester's musical history as the likes of the Stone Roses (who The Chysalids shared rehearsal space with), the Happy Mondays, James, the Inspiral Carpets and a whole host of hangers on became the short-lived phenomenon that was Madchester. As a result in 1990 the demand for emotively crooned songs had dropped somewhat, and the Chysalids disappeared as a band in the wrong place at the wrong time. Fast forward to the present and just as the Stone Roses, the Happy Mondays and the Inspiral Carpets are making respective returns to the live arena, the Chrysalids also made their own comeback with an intimate gig at The Castle in Manchester's hip Northern Quarter to promote 'Neither Love Nor Money'. Whilst the audience may have been mainly family and friends, and John Wood and Yves Altana may have perfomed with the assistance of backing music, it is abundantly clear that Wood has a fine voice and Altana is a talented guitarist. The set was merely five songs long, but it acted as a fine showcase for the album. The majority of the tracks were written and recorded between 1988 and 1992 (a handful were re-recorded last year), but such is their quality that the passage of time has hardly dimmed their appeal. Suede (who of course surfaced sometime after the Chrysalids) and the more melodic offerings of Echo & the Bunnymen are easy reference points, particularly on the likes of 'When There are No Stars in the Sky' and 'My Heart ismWhere My Home is", but, understandably, there is also a favourable nod to Wood's previous band too, though in a more polished way. The incredibly catchy 'Just Like Stringray' manages to shine despite some clumsy lyrics and the slower songs such as 'Don't Wait At The Gates For Me' and 'Before I Stop, Let Me Start' are also worth repeated listens. Ill luck and ill timing robbed the Chrysalids of a more succesful existence twenty-odd years ago and sadly age and family committments will probably prevent a serious assault at the gigging circuit necessary to elevate the band's status this time around, but at least songs that had for years been gathering dust can now be heard and enjoyed by those clued up enough to seek out 'Neither Love Nor Money'. Who needs the Stone Roses?

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Chrysalids - The Castle, Manchester, 5/8/2012

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Interview (2012)
Chrysalids - Interview
Anthony Strutt discusses with John Wood both his 80's bands One Thousand Violins and the Chrysalids, the latter of whom have recently released their debut album, 'Neither Love Nor Money', over twenty years after they recorded most of its songs

favourite album

Neither Love Nor Money (2012)
Chrysalids - Neither Love Nor Money
Anthony Strutt examines long lost Manchester band the Chrysalids' debut album, which, largely consisting of tracks recorded over twenty years ago, has only just been released now
Neither Love or Money (2012)

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