The Chills – SUBMARINE BELLS
Flying Nun Records.
Few things can compare with the excitement of first hearing a classic pop song from New Zealand. “Death And The Maiden”. “Nothing’s Going To Happen”. “Made Up In Blue”. “Inside And Out”. “Anything Could Happen”. “Fingerpops”. Or, indeed, “Heavenly Pop Hit”.
My only problem with bands like The Verlaines and The Clean (and most other New Zealand bands) is that they never released one truly compelling album. Nothing that would come even close to the brilliance of individual songs. Or, indeed, of Submarine Bells.
Martin Phillipps was in top form at this point, and he could do melancholically majestic (title song) and effervescently effective (“Familiarity Breeds Contempt”). This was so good there was no way he could recreate the magic on the worthy but patchy follow-ups like Soft Bomb and Sunburnt. Or, indeed, Silver Bullets.
But my heart still jumps the moment I hear those first few chords of the song that defines its title.