Review Summary: Excellent atmospheric post-punk, recommended for Joy Division fans especially, but really this album is so great that everyone should check it out even if they're not usually a fan of the genre.
7 of 7 thought this review was well written
At what point does a band become so popular that it should no longer be described as 'underrated' or 'unappreciated'? The Chameleons are one band that stand exactly on that line. Despite being unknown in the mainstream, the band have gathered a large cult following and released a trio of albums that many of their fans consider all to be masterpieces and some of the best the 80's have to offer. The Chameleons' influence outweighs their popularity, especially with modern post-punk revival bands like Interpol, often accused of being a Joy Division clone actually owing just as much, if not more, of their sound to The Chameleons.
Script of the Bridge, arguably The Chameleons' best album, also shares many similarities with Joy Division. However, the band never merely mimic Joy Division's sound, but instead add enough of their own style to keep their music sounding original and unique. Like Joy Division, The Chameleons use quite simple yet catchy riffs and hypnotic drumming to create a gripping dark atmosphere, though the bass isn't as prominent here. The Chameleons add to this style though by bringing in mellow dream pop influences and calming melodies, giving the album a lighter mood.
That's not to say that Script of the Bridge is a happy sounding album though. These melodies are calm yet melancholic, often played in a distinctive and influential dual guitar style. Synthesisers are also added occasionally in the background. Don't expect any Keith Emerson style solos though, the keyboards are only here to add another layer to the sound when necessary. Likewise, don't go into this expecting any incredible technical guitar work. The music is simple and minimalistic, but this really helps the hypnotic atmosphere. Saying that, a guitar solo here and there probably would have sounded great in this.
The whole album is covered with a huge amount of reverb and echo effects which work perfectly with the sad dreamy melodies, giving it a deep, rich nostalgic atmosphere that is very easy to get lost in. While this production works well for the album, it could be criticised for sounding slightly too dated. This isn't too noticeable though, and only really effects the more upbeat songs, especially the opener, 'Don't Fall'. Despite sounding great by itself, 'Don't Fall', and also 'Up The Down Elevator'', sound perhaps slightly too upbeat for the rest of the album. This also isn't a huge problem though. While sounding slightly less dreamlike and focused more on the 'punk' aspect of the music, these songs do add some variety to the album and don't move too far from the album's atmosphere.
Bassist Mark Burgess provides the vocals. While not the most technically impressive singer ever, his voice fits the mood of the music fine, singing in a clear, gloomy and haunting style that is never at all too harsh for the calm music, though is easily strong enough for the more energetic punk songs. The singing is sometimes slightly buried by the reverb, but this is not a problem at all as his voice blends in with the music and helps the atmosphere. His lyrics are also very good, with often quite cryptic, introspective songs that fit the album's mood perfectly, staying quite gloomy even during the rare upbeat moments of the music.
Overall, Script of the Bridge is a fantastic album which manages to stay accessible yet have a deep atmosphere that is easy to get lost in, and manages to be gloomy but not overbearingly depressing. Occasionally it can sound slightly dated, but it has aged much better than most albums of the decade. Plus the cover art is fantastic. A must have for any fan of post-punk, and especially for Joy Division fans.
first of all, username345, I would like to thank you for being the first one to finally do this review. I've been meaning to do it for about a year but being an extremely lazy person I never actually got started. I may review Strange Times. I really liked this review, it's what I was hoping for when I first saw that this had been reviewed (+ pretty much the correct rating)
Also, I don't think only Joy Division/post-punk fans should check this out, but every music fan! That means every damn userwho actually paid any attention to this review. One of the best bands ever imo, and all of their 3 albums were one of the best of the 80s. This is actually really close to a 5 for me, maybe I'll change it later.
I love how the album starts, Don't Fall is a perfect opener. I love especially Second Skin, after the midway of the song when it goes to the part where he sings I realise a miracle, I dedicate this melody to you/But is this the stuff dreams are made of?.
And I don't wonder why View from a Hill is your favourite, it's outstandingly beautiful, I've played it the most I think.This Message Edited On 12.05.08
they come from a new zealand post punk trend basically which i think is pretty unknown as it is, but it has some great bands (most of them peter jeffreries' bands :p). they're not too rare though, i managed to dig their/related albums up and get into the new zealand take on post punk. nerve ends in power lines is a great compilation, though some of his other stuff is better, and much more experimental for post punkThis Message Edited On 12.05.08