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Script of the Bridge (25th Anniversary Edition)

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Album Review

With two years, numerous radio sessions, and incessant gigging under their belts since their debut single, "In Shreds," the Chameleons came to the studio determined to make a great first album with Script of the Bridge. To say they succeeded would be like saying Shakespeare did pretty well with that one Hamlet play of his. Script remains a high-water mark of what can generally be called post-punk music, an hour's worth of one amazing song after another, practically a greatest-hits record on its own: the John Lennon tribute "Here Today," "Monkeyland," "Pleasure and Pain," "Paper Tigers," "As High as You Can Go," the breathtaking closer, "View From a Hill." Starting with the passionate fire of "Don't Fall," Script showcases how truly inventive, unique, and distinctly modern rock & roll could exist, instead of relentlessly rehashing the past to little effect. The scalpel-sharp interplay between the musicians is a sheer wonder to behold, the Dave Fielding/Reg Smithies guitar team provoke nothing but superlatives throughout, and John Lever and Mark Burgess make a perfect rhythm section — while the crisp production of Colin Richardson and the band adds delicate synth lines and shadings, courtesy of early touring keyboardist Alistair Lewthwaite, and just the right amount of reverb and effects on the guitars. Add to that the words of Burgess, one of the few lyricists out there who can tackle Big Issues while retaining a human, personal touch, and it all just adds up perfectly. The best one-two punch comes from "Second Skin," a complex, beautifully arranged and played reflection on the meaning of music and fandom, and "Up the Down Escalator," an at once harrowing and thrilling antinuclear/mainstream politics slam. [An important note: avoid at all costs the original U.S. vinyl issue on MCA, which not only switches the song order but removes a full third of the songs. The 25th Anniversary edition, released by the Blue Apple label in 2008, provides a remastered version of the album on the first disc, while the second disc includes previously unreleased mixes of three Script songs, as well as a 1983 live set performed in Bremen.]

Script of the Bridge (25th Anniversary Edition), The Chameleons
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