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Chills - The BBC Sessions

  by Mark Rowland

published: 18 / 11 / 2014

Chills - The BBC Sessions
Label: Fire Records
Format: CD


Excellent retrospective from underrated New Zealand–based indie pop band the Chills, which compiles together three BBC sessions which they recorded for John Peel between 1985 and 1988

The Chills are one of New Zealand’s best musical exports, part of the roster of indie pop bands signed to Flying Nun records. The Chills songs, written by the band’s only constant member Martin Phillips, were born out of punk but had shed all of its aggression, driven by trebly guitars and dinky keyboards. ‘The BBC Sessions’ charts the period between 1985 and 1988, the only three sessions the band recorded for John Peel. The music from these sessions was drawn predominantly from material that would make up the singles compilation ‘Kaleidoscope World’ and the band’s first proper album, ‘Brave Words’. If you like a good jangly song, this album is pretty much heaven. Phillips is a criminally underrated songwriter in this field, despite the Chills cult following. The first session is primarily made up of songs that would appear on ‘Brave Words’, which would come out 1987. The title track from that album starts with a gentle strum that builds to a pace before stopping abruptly. ‘Wet Blanket’ is driven by chiming guitars that seem faster and more frenetic than the song actually is. By the time of the second session, two years later, ‘Brave Words’ was recorded and the band’s sound is a little tighter and fuller. The ethereal piano of ‘Dan Destiny & The Silver Dawn’ and the tumbling synth of ‘Living in a Jungle’ give the band a thicker sound, and the songwriting has become more sophisticated, with time changes in most of the songs and more intricate playing from the members (all of whom, with the exception of Phillips, had joined after the previous session was recorded). The last session includes songs that would appear on 1990’s ‘Submarine Bells’, including ‘Part Past, Part Fiction’ and ‘Effloresce and Deliquesce’. It being a December session, the band also performs a Christmas song, which thankfully isn’t too ‘Christmas’.

Track Listing:-
1 Rolling Moon (12/11/1985)
2 Brave Words (12/11/1985)
3 Wet Blanket (12/11/1985)
4 Night of Chill Blue (12/11/1985)
5 Dan Destiny & The Silver Dawn (05/0
6 Living in a Jungle (05/04/1987)
7 Rain (05/04/1987)
8 Moonlight on Flesh (05/04/1987)
9 Part Past, Part Fiction (18/12/1988)
10 Christmas Chimes (18/12/1988)
11 Effloresce and Deliquesce (18/12/19
12 Dead Web (18/12/1988)

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