It makes sense that the group once known simply as the Chills is now Martin Phillips & the Chills -- for the group has always been a template for Phillips' distinct pop vision. In fact, throughout nearly a dozen lineups he has been the only consistent member. The players employed this time around weren't even the present members of Phillips' group, as those three were turned back at Heathrow Airport, their work permits denied, and sent home to New Zealand. So "the Chills" brought in this time around are XTC's Dave Gregory and Fairport Convention drummer Dave Mattacks. On the title track, Phillips addresses his precarious group situation, specifically the 1992 implosion of the Chills, when seemingly at the peak of their career that version of group dissolved into legal battles and a creative standstill. However, Sunburnt finds Phillips' lush pop muse intact and full of sweet melodies, unique arrangements, and ringing guitars -- particularly on timeless gems like "Come Home," "Swimming in the Rain," and "Dreams Are Free." Put quite simply, this is music that makes you feel good. Craig Leon, known for his work with Blondie and the Ramones, produces.
by Erik Hage