RECOMMENDED RECORD: The Chills: Submarine Bells (Fire/Flying Nun)

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RECOMMENDED RECORD: The Chills: Submarine Bells (Fire/Flying Nun)

From time to time Elsewhere will single out a recent release or reissue we recommend on vinyl, like this one . . .

There is a reason why many Chills' loyalists speak of Martin Phillipps' timeless songwriting for his Chills (by-any-other-name) outlet: It is that because he crafts pop songs which resonate long after their first blush.

Nowhere is that more evident than on Submarine Bells of 1990 which opened with the ascending/descending melody of the glorious and aptly-named Heavenly Pop Hit . . . which rivaled Brian Wilson's Heroes and Villains for its addictive, forward-momentum genius.

But Phillipps brought a much more dreamy and heavenly pop-rock aspect to his idea than Wilson had.

And the Chills' Submarine Bells album ended a tidy 40 minutes later after the sub-aquatic sound and mood of the title track.

Between times there was the folk-pop of Tied Up in Chain; the fast-forward, stripped-back, teen-dream energy and garageband pop-rock of The Oncoming Day; its thoughtful musical antithesis on the poised I Soar which harked back to Sixties-era Elizabethanism (the Stones' Lady Jane reimagined through a haze of Pink Frost); the understated Part Past Part Fiction which alluded to a less ambitious heavenly pop hit; the detailed if wordy and urgent solo-Barrett psyche-pop of Effloresce and Deliquesce . . .

Screen_Shot_2020_12_30_at_8.29.03_PMNow reissued on vinyl – as Phillipps and God intended it – three decades on Submarine Bells still has the capacity to delight, surprise, irritate (like sand in an oyster creating the pearl) and . . .

Here were literate pop hits from heaven and a more earthly realm (born of a remote city at the bottom of the planet) which rarely sounded so enjoyable and . . . yes, timeless.

An essential album, and now on appropriately greeny-gold vinyl from here.

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