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(78 min, Faith Strange)
TRACK LIST: 1. Down by the Waterfront 4:06 2. The Affairs of the Heart 4:03 3. Nuclear Missiles 6:59 4. Sweet & Sour Sadness of Sunday Afternoon 4:53 5. Hell Without You 4:46 6. Don't Fall in the Crack Jack 4:26 7. 42nd Street 4:49 8. I Am the Walrus 4:20 9. Whenever We're Together 4:43 10. Marilyn 5:08 11. Dance 5:31 12. Long Hot Summer 4:52 13. Hostage of the Heart 5:42 14. Christmas in the Whorehouse 6:31 15. Bride of Jesus 6:20 All music: by Chill Fiction, except 8: J Lennon & P McCartney. All lyrics: by Kirwan, except 8. Produced by Chill Fiction. LINEUP: Larry Kirwan - vocals; guitar David Conrad - basses Thomas Hamlin - drums Mike Fazio - synthesizers; guitar Fred Parcells - electronic trombone
Prolusion. Here is a collection of rarities and unreleased tracks from the NYC band CHILL FICTION. They were recorded live in the studio to analog tape from 1985 to 1987 with no overdubs except for backing vocals and were digitally mastered and restored for this release. In the CD press kit, the band's music is described as a blend of post-Punk, Funk, psychedelic and progressive Rock.
Analysis. Remote images, smells and sounds come back from the depth of passed years, rousing a smile on my face and, sometimes, a grin. That's what I had experienced when I listened to Chill Fiction's "Eggman on the Deuce & Other Stories". Overall, all the tracks presented are done within the framework of quite a unified stylistics, and indeed, the aforementioned definition in many cases corresponds to the actual state of affairs. The only thing I'd like to specify concerns the level of progressiveness of this music. It's mostly proto-progressive in character, though it's definitely more diverse than traditional Hard Rock and Heavy Metal. At times, the band's approach to the arrangements reminds me of David Bowie's investigations in the seventies, though Larry Kirwan's vocals are much more convincing, at least regarding my taste. It was wise of the band to inculcate electronic brass in several compositions, which imparted additional freshness to the music and made it sound richer. However, the little quantity of changes of tempo and mood, especially in the first half of the CD, leaves me at times feeling some dissatisfaction. From a progressive standpoint, the most interesting are the last five tracks, especially Dance, Christmas in the Whorehouse and Bride of Jesus.
Conclusion. In its weight category, Chill Fiction is a strong outfit. The album comes recommended to those in nostalgia for the heyday of the post-Punk era New York underground scene and those liking the most avant-garde efforts by David Bowie, who, in my view, personifies the best of the pre-Punk movement.
>KW: March 22, 2005
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