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Pearl - EP

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iTunes Review

Though Chapterhouse had been functioning since 1987, it wasn’t until the 1991 Pearl EP that the band became part of England’s shoegazing hierarchy. It helped that the title track featured a songwriting breakthrough—Chapterhouse's tendency to pump guitars through a daisy-chain of cranked effects was dialed back in lieu of letting whisper-sung harmonies create infectious melodies. Add to that a dance beat (sampled from John Bonham’s opening part to Led Zeppelin’s “When the Levee Breaks”), plus a guest vocal by Slowdive’s Rachel Goswell, and you had a perfect recipe for what U.K. journalists would call "the scene that celebrated itself.” But with the Pearl EP, Chapterhouse also gave fans delicious b-sides that became live favorites. “Come Heaven” tucked its howling guitar feedback behind beautifully fingerpicked acoustic guitars, over which drummer Ashley Bates worked his magic. But it was Stephen Patman’s seductive murmuring of the vocals that gave “Come Heaven” a come-hither vibe. The following “In My Arms” closes with a dream-pop ballad on par with those by Oxford’s Ride.

Customer Reviews

British Shoegaze at its Best

The EPs are excellent, but Whirlpool is one of the top shoegaze albums of the era. Pearl is one of the top 5 emblematic songs of the 1988-1992 scene. It is not, however, one of the top 5 best songs of the era. You would have to look to Ride (early), Pale Saints, MBV, Slowdive and several other bands for that distinction. Nearly 20 years later and in the midst of a minor revival of early 1990s styles (e.g. Silversun Pickups and others), only a few of these groups still hold up without sounding seriously dated. Chapterhouse holds up, but not so well as others.

Best version of Pearl

I spent years trying to find this version after I had it on an old KROQ mix tape. I always felt robbed with the album version, I kept singing after it ended. Well worth buying if you are having doubts. I would search and search, finally itunes released it, ending a 16 year search.


Pearl is a great song from the second most important shoe-gazer band. (Great college memories from this song!)


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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