Thursday, January 10, 2008


The Chills: Martin Phillipps (vocals, guitar); Andrew Todd (keyboards, background vocals); Justin Harwood (bass, background vocals); James Stephenson (drums, percussion).

Additional personnel: Donna Savage (background vocals).

Recorded at Jacobs Studios Ltd., Surrey, England between August and October 1989.

New Zealand release. 1990

On SUBMARINE BELLS, Martin Phillipps and a yet another retooled Chills lineup make a bid for commercial acceptance. Gary Smith's detailed, atmospheric production is far more radio-friendly than that of previous records, and the gorgeous, appropriately titled lead track, "Heavenly Pop Hit," seems to indicate a desire for airplay. But when the chorus rolls around, and Phillipps sings "it's a heavenly pop hit/if anyone wants it," it is clear that he is wary about mainstream appeal. An uncompromising songwriter, Phillipps writes with honesty and vulnerability, hardly the formula for mass adulation.

Phillipps is nothing if not ambitious-lyrically, compositionally, and thematically. A water leitmotif defines the record, culminating in the tragic title track, a poetic declaration of love from a drowning man, that closes the record. But this is a record of many moods, from the dark melancholy of "Don't Be Memory" and the revved-up fury of "Familiarity Breeds Contempt" to the lapidary beauty of "I Soar" and the exquisite "Effloresce And Deliquesce."


Anonymous said...

This is a wonderful record and it's a joy to hear it again after all of these years. Thanks for posting!

Anonymous said...

The singing in my sleep!!!

What a Great, Great song. It take me back to my 16's... Thanks a lot for posting it.

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fosfor said...

wow! at last! found this dreamlikie album, which i've been looking for years, since I lost my casette with this album.
thank you thank you! what a marvelous day this is!