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Tim Chaplin - Chrome Plated On Nickel Silver

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 26 / 4 / 2006

Tim Chaplin - Chrome Plated On Nickel Silver
Label: Select Label
Format: CD


Superb 60's influenced psychedelic pop on debut solo album from singer-songwriter Tim Chaplin, who also records electronic music under the name of Luminous

Tim Chaplin has been around on the music scene for a number of years now, releasing songs as Luminous on compilations for labels such as Fi-Sci Records and Shifty Disco. There is also a new Luminous song on a compilation put out by the German label Paranoise as well as Luminous contributing to a Shifty Disco singles club CD. ‘Chrome Plated On Nickel Silver’ is Chaplin’s debut solo album so we will leave the work of Luminous, his electronic alter-ego , for another time and see what Chaplin has to offer when working under his own name. Not surprisingly there are a few sound effects scattered amongst these 10 self composed songs released on Chaplin’s own Tara Records label. There’s what sounds like a spade being scraped along the ground running throughout ‘Space In Time’ for example and, while it’s a bit of a surprise to begin with, it soon makes a lot of sense when taken along with the other percussion sounds on the album. Chaplin, thankfully, is strong on melody. Lo-fi recordings like these are sometimes just a mass of noise and any beauty which is there can for the most part be buried so deep in the sound that it can be hard work to stick with an album all the way through. But it is obvious from the opening song, ‘Everybody In Here Loves You’, that Chaplin knows how to write catchy melodies while still adding odd sounds and textures into his songs. There is little information included with this album, and also no indication on his website, as to whether Chaplin played all the instruments or even took all the vocals on this album his self. I guess that as it is being promoted as a ‘solo’ album Chaplin probably did everything on the album and if so then the man certainly knows his way around the guitar and any other instrument he gets his hands on. That opening song runs for just over 8 minutes and not once did my mind wander off and start thinking about what was for tea tonight. The main reason is, as stated earlier, Chaplin has a way with a melody, but he also throws in enough strange sounding instruments to keep the interest up, the xylophone seems to crop up on this song as well as a few others although it could be that electronic alter-ego of Chaplin playing tricks on us and making instruments sound like something they are not. One thing’s for sure the guitar solo, played by Chaplin or not, lifts the song into the hemisphere. There’s a definite psychedelic feel to these songs. It’s as if Chaplin has taken all the best bits of obscure mid to late 60'a psychedelic 7” singles, thrown the lot up into the air, let them smash to pieces on the floor then assembled them again in a contemporary fashion. It’s impossible to say exactly which bands or artists Chaplin has been influenced by. For all the 60's flavouring this is very much a product of these times. Chaplin has used the sounds of the past in a way most fail to do for at the end of the day he has used that music to make something which is uniquely Tim Chaplin in 2006 and which doesn’t sound a day out of time. ‘The Truth’, which appears halfway through the album, is a perfect example of Chaplin’s talent. With backwards tapes supplying the sound, Chaplin’s distinctive, instantly accessible vocals float over the top which gives the song, like most of the work here a dreamy, otherworldly feel. This album is quite unlike any other I’ve heard all this year and is all the better for that. Because of the home-studio low-fi quality the album is best heard via a CD player and not by headphones but even that in some way adds to the charm. For those looking for more than the current crop of male singer/songwriters have to offer and looking for something totally different you couldn’t go far wrong with this collection. With all the strange sound effects/instruments weaving in and out of the heavenly melodies there is always something new to discover in this gem of an album.

Track Listing:-
1 Everybody In Here Loves You
2 Crash-Land
3 Try
4 Space In Time
5 The Truth
6 Accept Or Deny
7 . This Road Was Made For The Rain To Run Down
8 Jemma With A J
9 Don't Know Why I Don't Know Why
10 Seems Like Sinking

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