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This weekend I’ll mostly be listening to… Chapterhouse January 9, 2010

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Culture, This Weekend I'll Mostly Be Listening to....

Ah, Chapterhouse, loved by former Goths and those who were into shoegaze (which often came to much the same thing given the Robin Guthrie crossover effect) in equal measure. Appeared in 1990 with Whirlpool. Got to be honest, I was never hugely into the first album. Indeed, I’ll go further. I never much liked it. And even though I still have the copy I bought the year it came out in a second hand CD shop just south of Leicester Square in London I still don’t. Sure, it’s got some moments, a sort of harder edged guitar led reworking of some ideas the Cocteau’s mixed with the Mary Chain, or perhaps MBV (indeed the Cocteau’s are another band I feel hugely equivocal about – perhaps there’s only so many times you can listen to Treasure in one life, albeit some of the 12″‘s are still remarkable) took around the block in earlier years – to the point you could argue it sounds like a sort of beefed up Blue Bell Knoll as done by younger slightly angrier folk with more effects pedals… as indeed it pretty much was.

So in a way I’m amazed I ever bothered with the second album Blood Music. But bother I did and I’ve never regretted it. This was a clunky, absurdly over-enthusiastic mashing together of their trademark shoegaze with dance. And the funny thing is that it somehow worked. There was an element of madchester – all hands in the air rapture (We Are the Beautiful… yes, well, let us be the judge of that), a hint here and there of electronica (She’s a Vision), a rather dodgy motorik-ish workout and so on and so forth. And somehow I still listen to it.

I think most likely because despite its limitations the enthusiasm carried it along.

Of course it couldn’t last. Relatively soon afterwards they split. It was only years later that I realised that one of their number had washed up in the rather fine Cuba, a big-beat/electronica project that was on the 4AD label. As to the rest I could not say, although I see Ulrich Schnauss was gigging with some former members in recent years. Which is nice.

But for a taste of the early to mid-1990s and the way that some parts of indie opened up to dance this works as a ragged but not uninteresting and fairly credible example.

And to be honest, given the arctic conditions outside, and for once that’s not quite pointless hyperbole, it’s nice to have something a little summery…

She’s A Vision

We are the Beautiful

Don’t Look Now (sort of dancey, sort of not…)

Summer’s Gone


Love Forever

Chapterhouse and Ulrich Schnauss Live in 2008


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