The Chameleons UK

Peel Sessions

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A constant subject of debate among Chameleons fans has been and remains whether or not their three studio albums, for all their brilliance, were nonetheless overproduced, with Smithies and Fielding especially lost in reams of digital delay. For those who believe so, Peel Sessions clearly came as a godsend, but even if a listener doesn't care either way, the benefits of capturing near-live sessions of such amazing performers with high-end studio sound is reason enough to give an ear. Covering sessions from 1981, 1983 and 1984, the song selection mixes selections from the first two albums plus a few rarities - the earliest session, featuring original drummer Brian Schofield (solid, but nowhere as inventive as Lever proved to be later), contains fine versions of "The Fan and the Bellows" and "Things I Wish I'd Said," not to mention a brisk "Looking Inwardly," not officially recorded until four years later! Takes on Script classics like "Second Skin" and "Don't Fall" are more than welcome, but the standouts have to be the many numbers from What, such as "Return of the Roughnecks," "One Flesh" and "Perfumed Garden," here given a bite and drive that amazes. The closing track, "P. S. Goodbye," has a beautiful alternate beginning that, while simple enough, gives the song a totally different feel from the album version - more proof that even in the smallest of ways the Chameleons were truly one of a kind.

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