The Chefs

Records & Tea: The Best of the Chefs

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The cheerfully bouncy and sunny pop sound of the Chefs may have seemed a little out of place in the oft-gloomy early-'80s U.K. post-punk scene. The group's simple songs about small topics like food, tea, and friendship may have made them easy to overlook at the time, but Damaged Goods' collection of their singles and radio sessions (two for John Peel and one for Richard Skinner) shows that they are well worth rediscovering for indie pop fans. Their sweet and snappy songs are a template for C-86 bands like Talulah Gosh, but beyond that, they are strong enough to still sound fresh 30 years later. Their early singles have some punky grit in their gears ("Sweetie" bops along like a Revillos track; "Thrush" details a sexual misadventure with unflinching honesty), but as they quickly progressed, their sound smoothed out a little bit and the lyrics became a bit more sophisticated. Despite this, they never lost their innocent band-next-door charm, and their 1981 single "24 Hours" is one of the great lost songs of the era. Along with Dolly Mixture, the Chefs are one of the cornerstones of U.K. indie pop, and Records & Tea: The Best of the Chefs is a vital acquisition for anyone who is a fan of the style.

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