Blood Music

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Even more out of sync with the prevailing trends upon its release -- Suede had hit the U.K. and Brit-pop's incipient reign was under way, while the U.S.A. still wanted its rock as manly grunge straight up -- Blood Music at once wasn't quite the best follow-up in the world and yet worked much better as an album than Whirlpool, which given that it was constructed from almost as many different sessions as the first album ranks as even more of a surprise. The band's increasingly schizophrenic tastes reflected themselves in the music from the start, as opener "Don't Look Now" started with a swirling bit of techno-psychedelia, punctuated by a guitar riff shortly afterward. Songwise, things were not quite as distinct this time around; singles "We Are the Beautiful" and "She's a Vision" felt a little too much like pale copies of earlier stompers like "Pearl," though admittedly the vocals were a bit more up front. Taken as a whole, however, somehow the album holds together well -- everything flows just right throughout, shifting from the peppier semi-dance of "Everytime" to the chillier, slightly emptier "Deli," from the more rocked-up nuggets like "Greater Power" to the calm, floaty ending, "Love Forever." It wasn't enough in the end to ensure the success of the album or the continuation of the band, but Blood Music still has enough going for it to suggest Chapterhouse might have gone on to greater things next time through. Differing bonus discs appeared on U.K. and U.S. versions -- the former consisted of a full remix of the album by techno duo Global Communication, while the latter included a couple of remixes from other acts, a sweet little number called "Frost," and the awesome "Picnic," a 15-minute ambient/rock piece that arguably was their best-ever number.

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