To paraphrase the name of the third Buzzcocks album, Manchester, England’s Chameleons were a “different kind of tension.” Their roots were definitely in the post-punk tradition — one listen to their debut single “In Shreds” and the early demos compiled on The Fan and the Bellows collection is all the proof you need — but that’s only one aspect of the band’s mesmerizing sound. Like Echo and The Bunnymen and the early U2, The Chameleons were proponents of epic, guitar-effect heavy rock ‘n’ roll. Their 1983 debut Script of The Bridge and 1985’s What Does Anything Mean? Basically have both been given the deluxe dual-disc reissue treatment by Blue Apple Music. The remastering on these releases sounds amazing. I know some of you out there swear by vinyl, but the sound on these CDs is much better than the original wax put out by Statik (yeah, I still have them). Script is the slightly better of the first two Chameleons albums, mainly because the sound is just a tad grittier and there a few more songs! Tracks like “Don’t Fall,” “Monkeyland” and “A Person Isn’t Safe Anywhere These Days” floor you like a prime time Mike Tyson punch. The Bonus disc contains a scorching 1983 concert. What Does Anything Mean? is equally essential, containing two of my all-time favorite Chameleons tunes, “Intrique in Tangiers” and “Return of the Roughnecks” (see video above), plus tacking on the debut single “In Shreds”/”Nostalgia”. The bonus disc is well worth it too, a collection of demos from this album that are at times even more potent than the album versions.
Chameleons CD reissues