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Whirlpool - The Original Recordings

Chapterhouse

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Album Review

Victim of a double whammy — caught in the already building backlash to the shoegazer scene at home and completely ignored in the States, as was just about anything else British — once Nevermind and Ten hit the charts Chapterhouse's album debut could have, and should have, won a bigger name for itself. At once more dance-flirting and garage-punky than most recordings by other My Bloody Valentine obsessives that emerged in the early '90s, though suffering the same underplaying in the vocal department, Whirlpool builds nicely on the three earlier EP releases with a similar sense of "what the hey — if it works, try it." As an album, it doesn't per se connect as a unified piece — the final track listing comes from a variety of recording sessions with a large number of producers and remixers, including Robin Guthrie, Stephen Hague, John Fryer, and Ralph Jezzard. As a collection of mostly killer tracks, though, this is mighty fine. "Breather" kicks it off with a rushing shudder that mixes its acoustic and electric guitars well, while "Pearl" throws in trancey beats, John Bonham samples, and some fine art-glazed feedback riffs to create as perfect a nugget of the era as any. "Falling Down" has similar heavy-groove action to it, Madchester as played by Loop. Other highlights are more strictly rocky, like the slow-build/rave-up/freak-out/repeat "Autosleeper" and "April," with a big guitar wash up and out through the length of the song. A gentler version of early track "Something More" closes the album well; the overall effect is strong promise for whatever would come next.

Biography

Formed: 1987 in Reading, England

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Five rail-thin longhairs from Reading, England, Chapterhouse was first linked to the space rock likes of Spacemen 3 and Loop — the connection with the former being inextricable during the band's youngest months, thanks in part to vocal support from Sonic Boom. Early on, the two bands also shared the same management and gigged together. As the years transpired, Chapterhouse would eventually be identified as a shoegaze band, thrown in with the so-called "Scene That Celebrates Itself," as alternately...
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