Thursday, April 7, 2011

Review :: Paleoacoustics :: The Chills

The Chills
Heavenly Pop Hits
Flying Nun

I belong to four
mix CD clubs. I don't recognize 95% of the names that appear on the bubble-protected return address. Sometimes the senders will include tracklists, sometimes not. Sometimes they enclose their deepest sentiments about the month in which their soul-defying mix was crafted, sometimes not. Sometimes I actually listen to their ego-enforcing mix, but usually I don't. That's because I'm an asshole, and my iTunes battleship will sink yours any day, without even looking over the lame-ass barrier that barely obscures your fleet of New Order b-sides -- which I love, and could be the downfall of my belligerent confidence. I'm a softy, see. That's why I write this blog.

The upside of being on the receiving end of so many personalized musical shrines is that, every so often, it just clicks. Consider this: to be a part of a snail-mail mix CD club is to participate in the flesh and blood of what a music blog strives to be, but so often falls flat in achieving -- at least these people have the fucking balls to show up at my front door and make their demons known. There's no waiting for the page to refresh, or for the stream to load, or for the application to mount, or for me to sit here and give a shit. Their carefully-positioned tastes invade my home and I have to find a way to deal with them, on an individual basis.

Somehow this entire Chills album showed up on the floor of my foyer, just below the mail drop (sorry DC friends -- none of you). These songs not only reaffirm my fervor for Flying Nun; they forgive me my melodic sins, and make the case for forgoing a mix CD and just sending a fully-formed, ready-made album. Why not? This one also acts as a mix CD of sorts, compiling about a decade's worth of singles and album cuts firmly rooted in the instantly-catchy yet wholly-original songwriting of the New Zealand indie scene. The songs roll along in a range of styles that never drift too far from the sort of psych that could only come from being outnumbered by goats 2-to-1 every waking day. The Chills haven't received the credit they deserve, probably because it's not actually a band so to speak (over 20 line-up changes with songwriter Martin Phillips as the only constant), but this compilation serves as a required piece in the labyrinthine Dunedin Sound.

The Chills :: Kaleidoscope World

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