17 Songs, 50 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The Chills had had modest international success with 1990's Submarine Bells, which went to No. 1 in their New Zealand homeland. Yet that only led to Martin Phillipps rolling over the band roster and returning with a largely American cast of musicians—The dBs’ Peter Holsapple, Lisa Mednick, and Clay Idols’ Steve Schayer—and going to Los Angeles to record the band’s final album as The Chills. (The group's few future releases would be credited Martin Phillipps & The Chills.) Songs such as “The Male Monster from the Id,” “Background Affair,” and “Ocean Ocean” proved an effective opening trio, while the variously numbered “Soft Bomb” tracks (aside from the fully formed first installment) serve as little intrusions into the album's flow, made even more pronounced by “There Is No Harm in Trying” and “There Is No Point in Trying” providing their half-minutes of music-hall entertainment. Tucked inside these crazy points are genuinely great songs: the masterful “Song for Randy Newman Etc.” and the wistful “Double Summer.” Van Dyke Parks orchestrated the chilling “Water Wolves.” 

EDITORS’ NOTES

The Chills had had modest international success with 1990's Submarine Bells, which went to No. 1 in their New Zealand homeland. Yet that only led to Martin Phillipps rolling over the band roster and returning with a largely American cast of musicians—The dBs’ Peter Holsapple, Lisa Mednick, and Clay Idols’ Steve Schayer—and going to Los Angeles to record the band’s final album as The Chills. (The group's few future releases would be credited Martin Phillipps & The Chills.) Songs such as “The Male Monster from the Id,” “Background Affair,” and “Ocean Ocean” proved an effective opening trio, while the variously numbered “Soft Bomb” tracks (aside from the fully formed first installment) serve as little intrusions into the album's flow, made even more pronounced by “There Is No Harm in Trying” and “There Is No Point in Trying” providing their half-minutes of music-hall entertainment. Tucked inside these crazy points are genuinely great songs: the masterful “Song for Randy Newman Etc.” and the wistful “Double Summer.” Van Dyke Parks orchestrated the chilling “Water Wolves.” 

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