Sunday, 16 December 2012

Desert Island Discs 81 - Soft Bomb by The Chills

81 - Soft Bomb by The Chills 1992

One of those lps that is laden down with hooks, Soft Bomb mixes spikey pop songs with lush orchestral ballads all backing the quirky lyrics and fragile voice of main man Martin Phillips

The lp spawned 2 singles both showcase Chills at their catchiest best

The Male Monster of the Id - The Chills

Double Summer - The Chills

There is a darker edge to the songs once you dig beneath the summery sing along tunes, which isn't surprising when you consider the band have experienced death of band members , drug addiction , major illness and continuous line up changes. It is Martin Phillips singular vision as the only consistent member

Sanctuary - The Chills

married with children and a dog
to a man who hits when he is wild
overbearing undercaring
keeps her like a frightened child
she has made a man in side her head
who is gentle good and strong

In places sad , in places up lifting and in places just plain weird , the thing that keeps the whole thing together is Phillips ear for a melody that deserves at least some of the sales that went to fellow New Zealanders the Finns

You can buy Soft Bomb as a download here


  1. Submarine Bells just missed my list, simply because it's dated just a bit. Soft Bomb has some great moments. But as a whole I find it somewhat uneven, maybe because it's more eccentric.

    RYAN ADAMS - Gold (2001)

    - Adams' sprawling sophomore effort is his magnum opus. He's a talented but exasperating little bugger; way tooo prolific and reckless, and everything since this album has yielded diminishing returns on my substantial investments. For that reason I docking him a few notches...

    New York, New York:
    La Cienga Just Smiled:

  2. Both this and Submarine Bells are cracking... another trip to the dusty attic.
    The NZ pop sensibility seems a quirkily melancholic one.
    Gold is great TT, Heartbreaker golden...
    Agree that his quality control has gone AWOL.
    I know folk who have worked with him and rate him a pretty unpleasant piece of work. There was a fairly high profile falling out with Neil Finn and Janis Ian on a recent songwriters circle that is easily googled.
    Ego: Good
    Petulance: Bad

  3. I've never really got into Ryan Adams mainly as I think I've only heard the diminishing returns so will give gold a listen - although falling out with Neil Finn ... well there is no way back from that in my eyes!
    If you get a chance the 3rd lp Sunburnt is also worth a listen

  4. I quite like this album, certainly some decent tunes but I'd still say they were the 3rd best band from NZ, after Crowded House and The Mutton Birds.
    As for Ryan Adams, I'm afraid I've no time for the man. Seems a complete knob. I know this shouldn't reflect on whether or not I like his music but, er, it does!
    #81 Orange Juice - You Can't Hide Your Love Forever. Their debut had them with their strongest line up (James Kirk on guitar) and for me their strongest set of songs aswell. An album that influenced a great number of bands. Would The Smiths have sounded like they did without Orange Juice? They were coy,witty and fey but could rock with the best of them if required.

  5. This lp was the one I had most angst about - I left it out eventually only because for years I only had an OJ greatest hits lp whihc is how I first came to love the band and only really got all the individual lp with the recent box set. It is an obsolute classic with Felicity one of my top 20 singles

  6. Re: Ryan Adams bratty behavior... It's always a dillema fairly evaluating an artist's work when they act like a putz. Van Morrison is another prime example, but I guess I'm trying to be objective, and appreciate the music for what it is, and hoping they might learn a little humility eventually...
    Note: my original mini-review alluded to to Adams' reputation of being a talented but cocky little prick, but I was afraid of Trev again coming down hard on me for my questionable phraseology...


  7. I'd say a knob who mouths a lot of old b*llocks TT...
    Agree about 'difficult' artists; sometimes their behavior adds to that elevated luster (Miles/Van/Reed), sometimes you just need them to be nicer to truly adore them (Ryan/Bjork/Waters), sometimes you don't give a stuff (Richard Carpenter/Gallaghers/Mark E Smith/Axl/Buddy Rich/Berry)


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