Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Submarine Bells (1990)

My brief and intense infatuation with this glittering collection of Chills songs coincided with the onset of the first Iraq War and also, as it happens, initiated me to the CD format, which until then I had resisted. I had to listen to this one every day for several weeks; that's what the pleasure brought me to. From North America, New Zealand is so far away that it might as well be another fantasy planet, a place where all problems are solved and joy reigns supreme. Actually, I know better than that (as does principal songwriter Martin Phillips). But the brilliantly fresh sound of this album and its pop concoctions can often seem undimmed by the events of human history, large and small – even when the stories they contain belie at least the latter. The melancholy remains resolutely sweet.

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