Here for the thaw

1980s band The Chills to perform in Gisborne as part of their Snow Bound Tour.

1980s band The Chills to perform in Gisborne as part of their Snow Bound Tour.

COOL AS: Long associated with the “Dunedin sound”, 1980s guitar-pop band The Chills, led by the band’s sole original member Martin Phillipps (centre), will perform in Gisborne as part of their Snow Bound Tour. Picture supplied

The S-B tradition in the titles of albums by The Chills continues with the pop punk band’s upcoming new release Snowbound. From 1990 to 2015 the band produced Submarine Bells, Soft Bomb, Sunburnt, Sketchbook, Somewhere Beautiful and Silver Bullets. And now, Snow Bound which is released the day before The Chills get to Gisborne in time for the thaw.

Snow Bound is an album about “consolidation, re-grouping, acceptance and mortality,” says the group’s sole constant member Martin Phillipps.

“Hopefully a kind of Carole King Tapestry for ageing punks.”

Lost heroes are lamented in the most recent album. Relationships are re-evaluated, atonement is sought and mortality is mulled over as a dysfunctional 50-something comes to terms with maturity.

“We believe Snow Bound is the most cohesive album we have ever done,” says Phillipps.

The band’s sound began with pop jingles then crossed over to punk.

“This one flows.”

Two tracks from the album, Complex, and Lord of All I Survey can be heard on Spotify. The music is accessible, relateable and up for repeat plays.

With its repeated refrain “I’m not the man you think I am/ I’m a complex piece of the plan”, Complex has a Stranglers rockiness with stadium big synth sound.

Lord of All I Survey maintains a British 1960s pop sensibility but builds into more orchestral synths as Phillipps recalls the blinkered solipsism of youth

“You’re the best thing that happened to me/ but while I was dreaming you just slipped away overseas/ I’m the lord of all I survey/ Reaching for something/ I just pushed it further away.”

The SB tradition in The Chills’ album names began as a coincidence, says Phillipps. But is there significance in the name Snow Bound?

“It makes it difficult to find a name that makes sense. For people of my generation” — Phillipps is 55 — “who are re-evaluating the world and their role in a changing world, this is a time of consolidation. As a punk and post-punk generation we did a lot of active protest and thought we were involved with active change.”

As people of that era grow into their 50s and 60s, only to realise things are slipping back, they are being told by younger people they are irrelevant, says Phillipps.

“Every generation is almost obliged to feel that way or they wouldn’t have the passion and energy to feel that way. When they’re our age they’ll have the same passions but in time our expression becomes more considered and is based on broader experience of life and the waves of history.”

Formed in Dunedin in 1980, The Chills’ music is influenced by 1960s British pop but embodies what has come to be known as the Dunedin sound.

Robert Scott of The Clean once described the Dunedin sound as “a good, raw sound influenced by what you heard on the radio as you grew up — the stuff from the 60s and 70s”.

Others cite the cooler, edgier influence of The Velvet Underground, an inclination to lo-fi production values and a textural guitar sound known as “the jangle”.

Online magazine audioculture suggests “The psychedelia of the 1960s also makes an appearance, with bands like (the early) Pink Floyd influencing The Chills’ more whimsical material, such as Kaleidoscope World.”

  • The Chills perform at the Dome on September 15. Presale tickets are $45 and are available now from the Aviary and the Dome. Book early so you don’t miss this show.

The S-B tradition in the titles of albums by The Chills continues with the pop punk band’s upcoming new release Snowbound. From 1990 to 2015 the band produced Submarine Bells, Soft Bomb, Sunburnt, Sketchbook, Somewhere Beautiful and Silver Bullets. And now, Snow Bound which is released the day before The Chills get to Gisborne in time for the thaw.

Snow Bound is an album about “consolidation, re-grouping, acceptance and mortality,” says the group’s sole constant member Martin Phillipps.

“Hopefully a kind of Carole King Tapestry for ageing punks.”

Lost heroes are lamented in the most recent album. Relationships are re-evaluated, atonement is sought and mortality is mulled over as a dysfunctional 50-something comes to terms with maturity.

“We believe Snow Bound is the most cohesive album we have ever done,” says Phillipps.

The band’s sound began with pop jingles then crossed over to punk.

“This one flows.”

Two tracks from the album, Complex, and Lord of All I Survey can be heard on Spotify. The music is accessible, relateable and up for repeat plays.

With its repeated refrain “I’m not the man you think I am/ I’m a complex piece of the plan”, Complex has a Stranglers rockiness with stadium big synth sound.

Lord of All I Survey maintains a British 1960s pop sensibility but builds into more orchestral synths as Phillipps recalls the blinkered solipsism of youth

“You’re the best thing that happened to me/ but while I was dreaming you just slipped away overseas/ I’m the lord of all I survey/ Reaching for something/ I just pushed it further away.”

The SB tradition in The Chills’ album names began as a coincidence, says Phillipps. But is there significance in the name Snow Bound?

“It makes it difficult to find a name that makes sense. For people of my generation” — Phillipps is 55 — “who are re-evaluating the world and their role in a changing world, this is a time of consolidation. As a punk and post-punk generation we did a lot of active protest and thought we were involved with active change.”

As people of that era grow into their 50s and 60s, only to realise things are slipping back, they are being told by younger people they are irrelevant, says Phillipps.

“Every generation is almost obliged to feel that way or they wouldn’t have the passion and energy to feel that way. When they’re our age they’ll have the same passions but in time our expression becomes more considered and is based on broader experience of life and the waves of history.”

Formed in Dunedin in 1980, The Chills’ music is influenced by 1960s British pop but embodies what has come to be known as the Dunedin sound.

Robert Scott of The Clean once described the Dunedin sound as “a good, raw sound influenced by what you heard on the radio as you grew up — the stuff from the 60s and 70s”.

Others cite the cooler, edgier influence of The Velvet Underground, an inclination to lo-fi production values and a textural guitar sound known as “the jangle”.

Online magazine audioculture suggests “The psychedelia of the 1960s also makes an appearance, with bands like (the early) Pink Floyd influencing The Chills’ more whimsical material, such as Kaleidoscope World.”

  • The Chills perform at the Dome on September 15. Presale tickets are $45 and are available now from the Aviary and the Dome. Book early so you don’t miss this show.
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