Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Chameleons - Return of the Roughnecks (Best of)

As Mark Burgess states in the liner notes, "Best of the Chameleons?! Contradiction in terms, mate!!" True, the Chameleons never had much chart success over the course of their five year existence (at least "hits" doesn't appear in the title!), but in retrospect they were one of the most excellent, awe-inspiring bands of the '80s. Their three studio LPs are works of genius, each with distinct qualities, each capable of consuming your soul and tugging your heartstrings. If you were to poll any number of diehard Chameleons fans as to what their favorite LP is, you would likely have a three-way tie. Even when considering the non-album tracks this Manchester band produced, you can count on one hand the number of less-than-quality tunes. That's a pretty good success rate! So why even bother with a best-of? After all, with brilliance running rampant throughout the course of their discography, which includes myriad radio session and live releases, it's a monster task to whittle a fair representation onto one CD. The track selection is excellent, though no compilation is likely to be seen as completely accurate from the judgment of one Chams fan to another. But since best-ofs are meant for beginners, this is a moot point. Avoiding the risk of making a fractured compilation, Return of the Roughnecks flows extremely well, and each of their LPs are represented quite evenly: five songs are from Script of the Bridge, three are from What Does Anything Mean, and four are off Strange Times (both sides of the "In Shreds"/"Nostalgia" single are included as well). Packaged lovingly with the involvement of the band, it's made to please the familiar as well. Some copies include their swan song, the Tony Fletcher Walked on Water EP, as a second disc. If given a choice between the single and double disc set, go with the double -- regardless of price difference.

Download here


benj said...

I have loved this band forever! It's really too bad that with the past few years' rediscovery of Joy Division and Echo & the Bunnymen, The Chameleons somehow continue to be ignored. When everyone says that Interpol and the Editors are just ripping off Joy Division, play any Chameleons song for them and see where these newer bands are really coming from.

Punk Rock Daddy said...

I totally agree benj, this band is one of few underrated bands ever. Which reminds of another great, unheard band called the Sound. Hey, maybe I'll post some of their works.

Punk Rock Daddy said...

Btw, I was perusing the blog circuit and I came across TWO Chameleons UK posts (Script of the Bridge & Strange Times) by my good friend Gilberto Von Mamerto of Luguria DIY -

Check it out!

hfs fan said...

bully for you. Terrific band. Lucky enough to see them in the 90s in Chicago. Script of the Bridge still one of the tops ever. Thanks for noticing them.