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Strange Times (With Bonus CD)

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Album Review

At the peak of their powers, the Chameleons combined the strong songwriting and driving guitars of their debut with atmospherics and production techniques gained from What Does Everything Mean? Basically to create their best album. Roaring out of the gate with "Mad Jack," Strange Times slows down for a tender acoustic ballad ("Tears") but then builds energy on "Soul in Isolation" — highlighted by the cascading drum workout of John Lever — and "Swamp Thing." The rest of the album alternates mood and energy as well, with atmospheric synth lines that later come crashing down in a hail of guitars. Out of print for several years, Strange Times was reissued in 1995 with five additional tracks (originally available in limited copies with the LP), including an airy cover of the Beatles' "Tomorrow Never Knows" and a more straight-ahead reworking of David Bowie's "John, I'm Only Dancing." [Strange Times is also available in a release with added bonus tracks.]

Customer Reviews

The most underrated band of the '80's?

Having just relived my youth with this fine album I can still only wonder at how The Chameleons never attained the status that was their due. A beautifully crafted album with some truly outstanding tracks. Their lack of recognition is highlighted by the absence of their (equally excellent) preceding albums on iTunes. Come on folks sort it out and get them on!!!

This band were amazing ....

If the this band were around now they would be as successful as Coldplay, Radiohead etc - they were just ahead of their time - these tracks still send a shiver down my spine 20+ years on - Soul in Isolation is haunting and the intro on Swamp Thing is superb. What about their debut -"Script of the Bridge" why is this not available on itunes? You haven't lived until you have heard Second Skin or Monkeyland. Please put these on itunes as my Chameleon records are all scratched.

A truly excellent band

I'm kicking myself for not coming across this band earlier. What can I say? They still sound fresh and original. Excellent band.


Formed: 1981 in Middleton, England

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '00s

The atmospheric pop band the Chameleons formed in Manchester, England, in 1981 from the ashes of a number of local groups: vocalist/bassist Mark Burgess began with the Cliches, guitarists Reg Smithies and Dave Fielding arrived from the Years, and drummer John Lever (who quickly replaced founding member Brian Schofield) originated with the Politicians. After establishing themselves with a series of high-profile BBC sessions, the Chameleons signed to Epic and debuted with the EP Nostalgia, a tense,...
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