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Sunday, December 31, 2017

The Chameleons: Auffuhrung In Berlin


1) Less Than Human; 2) Paper Tigers; 3) Monkeyland; 4) Thursday's Child; 5) Second Skin; 6) Pleasure And Pain; 7) Singing Rule Britannia; 8) Perfume Garden; 9) One Flesh; 10) In Shreds; 11) Splitting In Two.

Out of all the official and semi-official archival live albums associated with The Chameleons, this is the one that usually gets the highest praise, and it is easy to see why. Recorded at Berlin's Loft venue shortly before the release of Script Of The Bridge, this is a surprisingly high quality product (lead guitars and rhythm section sound fabulous, with near-ideal separation), and, just as it was with the Peel sessions, you get to hear classic early high-energy Chameleons without the production excesses of their studio records (namely, good drums).

Half of the setlist predictably consists of Script Of The Bridge tunes; the rest is a preview of several songs from What Does Anything..., plus a few non-album numbers like ʽLess Than Humanʼ — and only one hitherto unheard song, ʽSplitting In Twoʼ, an Alternative TV cover that they often used to finish their shows in the early days. (Admittedly, it does not sound seriously differently from the typical fast-paced Chameleons song.)

Since the show was professionally recorded, and the band's interactions with the audience are minimal, there are hardly any substantial differences between this record and The Peel Sessions, except for (quite fortuitous) discrepancies in the setlists, but I guess there is something to be said about the wholesome experience of a single show. My main gripe is that neither of the two has ʽUp The Down Escalatorʼ, still arguably the single greatest Chameleons song in the «upbeat» mode — not clear what it was that made them avoid that one so much. Too cheerful for public consumption? Anyway, be sure to grab this one, if only for the excellent sound quality.

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