Thursday, November 18, 2004

in the chapterhouse

Formed in Reading in 1987 by Andrew Sherriff (guitar/vocals), Stephen Patman (guitar), Simon Rowe (guitar), Jon Curtis (bass) and Ashley Bates (drums), Chapterhouse took the unusual step of rehearsing and gigging for well over a year before recording even a demotape. Initially lumped in with the British acid rock scene of the time, a mistake hardly rectified by the band's early performances supporting the rather laidback Spacemen 3. Chapterhouse eventually escaped from one genre only to find themselves thrust amongst the infamous shoegazer groups of 1991 (with Lush, Moose and Slowdive), so called because of the bands static live shows and insular music. Bassist Jon Curtis left early on to study, being replaced by Russell Barrett who also fronted his own garage band, the Bikinis. Chapterhouse eventually signed to the newly-formed Dedicated label, releasing a series of lavishly-acclaimed singles, including Pearl, which reached the UK Top 75, and which revelled in distorted melodies and attracted a healthy following, while the autumn of 1991 saw the band aiming their sights on the anticipatory American market.

Chapterhouse's debut album, Whirlpool, started with a ferocious bang that forced the listener to crank the volume more with each passing second. Propulsive drumming, swooning vocal, sun-drenched guitar- it had it all. Blood Music, released in 1993, really confused a lot of fans- it lost much of its intense wall-of-noise sheen and opted for experimenting with beats and loops. Today we have this opening track from Whirlpool and a bonus cut, Frost, that came tacked on a bonus cd of their 2nd CD, Blood Music as well as included on the excellent retrospective release, Rownderbowt. Its the kind of track that makes you go huh, why was this not on the album in the first place?! Perhaps the execs were scared of the kazoos?

Chapterhouse - Breather
Chapterhouse - Frost


At 2:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you. are. my. hero!

thank you so much for posting about chapterhouse. they were incredible.

p.s. why no mention of blood music? that disc has been in my top 5 ever since it came out.

At 2:17 PM, Blogger heath said...

I like Blood Music as well, but it was hard enough just choosing two tracks for mp3s. I will add some info though, you're right.

At 5:40 AM, Blogger StopBeingCarbon said...

I've never even heard of Chapterhouse, so thanks. I still listen to Swervedriver's "Mezcal Head," (I was going to write about them at some point...) and My Bloody Valentine from time to time...But nothing else. I'll have to look into these guys.

*adds site to favourites, links up*


At 9:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

you forgot to mention mesmerize as well.


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