One of a handful of game-changing indie pop bands from the small New Zealand town of Dunedin, the Chills made some of the most lasting independent rock of their day, their work in the '80s paving the way for the '90s alternative rock movement and generations of indie music that followed. The band was a vital contributor to the scene of underground sounds that British disc jockey John Peel made his life's ambition of taking to the masses, and The BBC Sessions collects songs from three studio visits the Chills made to the BBC to record Peel sessions between 1985 and 1988. Where the band's studio albums were often limited by the high costs of recording studios, the fidelity and clarity of these radio sessions is at times superior, though a decidedly live feeling flows through the tunes, which were mostly put to tape live in the studio. The Chills got to choose a four-song set list for each of their sessions, and their choices are interesting. Early singles and fan favorites like "Rolling Moon" and "Night of Chill Blue" end up on the first session, but as the Chills quickly developed in terms of songwriting and career shifts, they opted for lesser-known gems like "Christmas Chimes" and the eerie "Part Past Part Fiction" for later sessions. With these songs making up the entirety of the band's archived recordings for the BBC, they're an absolute must for anyone enamored with the kiwi pop sound and serve to show a different, less produced and more immediate side of the band's wistful, rolling songwriting style and dynamic, moody playing.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Fred Thomas