Wednesday, October 3, 2007

The Chameleons (and Scritti Politti)

I've done a lot of baking posts lately and figured I could unload some music. First a short list of albums that I've bought in the past two weeks:
  • A Place to Bury Strangers -- s/t (2007)
  • Arovane -- Tides (2000)
  • Arovane -- Lilies (2003)
  • The Chameleons -- Script of the Bridge (1983)
  • The Chameleons -- Strange Times (1986)
  • Mekons -- OOOH! (Out Of Our Heads!) (2002)
  • Mekons -- Natural (2007)
  • Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds -- The Boatman's Call (1997)
  • Public Image Ltd. -- Metal Box (1979)
  • Scritti Politti -- Cupid & Psyche 85 (1985)
I would go on and on about how much I've gotten into the Scritti Politti album -- the immaculate songwriting, the sumptuous arrangements, the clever lyrics -- but the first 20 seconds of the video for my favorite song on that album (Absolute) will show you why I don't want to get into it here. I've embarrassed myself enough by starting a blog about cupcakes. To their credit, Scritti Politti basically kick-started the DIY movement in Britain in the late 70's by printing the manufacturing costs on their self-made record sleeves, and they went from awesome art-school experimentalism to synth pop very purposefully. I'll just say that Cupid & Psyche 85 is the earliest and (no coincidence) by far best example of the kind of maximalist sound for which Basement Jaxx has been getting so much credit, and I'm not the only one who likes it.

I've really enjoyed all of the above albums (OOOH! is incredible), but the real star is the first Chameleons album, Script of the Bridge.

Mark Burgess and co. spent two years gigging and doing radio sessions before they felt ready to record their debut, and all their preparation really paid off. Anthemic, haunting, alienated, and beautiful -- Script of the Bridge epitomizes some of the best aspects of post-punk. If there were any justice in the world, The Chameleons would have been at least as big as U2.

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