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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Welcome back!
This is my initial opinion after just two listens!
Shades
Probably the biggest disappointment is the opening track - like a clumsy bolting together of recent Burgess/Invincible/Sons of God with The Reegs, rather than the full Chams synthesis. The uncomfortable leap into the chorus seems ill-conceived and forced, like they were trying to do an updated Don't Fall...
Published on 12 July 2001 by moerandotcom

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An Average Chameleons Album But A Good Album By Any Standard
It was very unlikely that the band would come close to the genius visited on the first three albums but while it certainly doesn't do that,this is a fair effort.Happily the album does not sound like the Chameleons-By-Numbers affair i'd expected though there are,as you'd expect,one or two traits that old fans will know well.I prefer to think of it as a very good...
Published on 19 May 2003


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Welcome back!, 12 July 2001
This review is from: Why Call It Anything (Audio CD)
This is my initial opinion after just two listens!
Shades
Probably the biggest disappointment is the opening track - like a clumsy bolting together of recent Burgess/Invincible/Sons of God with The Reegs, rather than the full Chams synthesis. The uncomfortable leap into the chorus seems ill-conceived and forced, like they were trying to do an updated Don't Fall to kick things off with a real bang. The lyrics I just don't get. The kind of opening track to get you worried if you ever had high hopes for long-quiet/defunct bands that then failed to deliver (Stone Roses, anyone?)
Anyone Alive?
Despite initially veering into Invincible-sounding-like-Chameleons territory (or at least that's the worry after hearing track one), Anyone Alive? somehow rescues itself to pull above this and into real Chams greatness. One of those comfortable Burgess compositions of recent years which could really grow on you.
Indiana
Familiar from Strip now re-recorded and modified slightly but still very recognisable, Indiana was probably worth reworking after all the touring to show how much they really have come back together. Suddenly the song has areas of light and shade, subtleties and inflections missing from the original which will convince those who weren't sure of it first time around. It's funny to come across a familiar tune in this new album only to have to remind yourself this is New Chameleons, not another Old Chameleons reworking - yet still the song that bridges the gap for most of us I guess.
Lufthansa
Coming in on backwards drums and acoustic guitars we hear something of what solo Burgess might have been with better production and perhaps more musical and instrumental self-discipline - then those distinctive guitar chimes come in and the hairs stand up on the back of your neck. I could almost hear this taking a place on side 2 of Strange Times, following in the introspective mood of Time/End of Time or thereabouts. Lovely!
Truth Isn't Truth Anymore
Interesting - unusual harmonies and melodies in the verse contrast with the crunching guitars of the chorus, but does it try a little too hard to be clever? A bit too prog rock for my liking, I'm afraid. Perhaps it's because it's their first venture into the 'difficult' 5/4 time signature, at least for large parts of the song, alternating with 6/8 - very brave, but it can land them in unfortunate territory!
All Around
CD-Tree folk will be familiar with this slice of gorgeousness that kicks off with just Mark and an acoustic guitar, before other instruments start to creep in and the song builds and the band enters fully after the first chorus. To me this is the link to the great melodic 'pop' songs of Tony Fletcher-era Chams - you can almost feel the need for a huge bank of orchestral strings to swoop in for the final choruses - if Neil Hannon (The Divine Comedy) had been around there would be a thousand violins playing by the end of it, but with Reg and Dave we get something less predictable and perhaps more inventive. I do love this song! Eerie ending, sounds like something off a David Sylvian instrumental circa 1990...
Dangerous Land
I don't think we've ever heard a tremelo guitar opening a Chams track, have we? Not a song destined for mega-greatness, but the sounds that hold it together are lovely, and I suspect it could be something of a sleeper, a track you end up loving without knowing when you started or why. As with Shades I don't think the chorus really works - there's a great mood set up which it shatters unnecessarily, but maybe it'll grow on me. The bass almost feels like it's thinking of drifting into something dubby, which might have been an interesting deviation - it always sounds like it might happen but never quite does.
Music in the Womb
A Hammond Organ? Shurely shome mishtake? But no, and we've got acoustics, some kind of buzzy e-bow thing - they're not afraid to expand their soundscapes are they? Oh, and no bass either, which adds to a kind of weightlessness, a feeling of unrooted floating. This is surely another song Mark might have put on a solo outing without this degree of well-worked-out musical sophistication, and we'd have thought it a curiosity perhaps. Bringing the band in lifts it onto another plane altogether.
Miracles and Wonders
Kicks off with Kwasi, whose fast delivery over such a slow beat is what? Daring? Love it / hate it? But then he comes back in a bit later and it suddenly falls into place and works. This song has a lovely feel to it, one they've clearly worked long and hard on it. I love the others singing the vocal "If anything can happen then it probably will" - I wonder what they're talking about?!? And then there's the ending - a long sonic dreamscape, with swirling synths and drone, water sounds, ambient noises - speech, playground sounds, snatches of radio. Perhaps this is the audio evocation of those two lines in View from a Hill -"Pick myself up and take the air/ The fragrance of children everywhere"? This is surely the song about coming back together, about rebirth, but about matters more deep and fundamental too. A song you'll have to listen to over and over again, just because it's there.
Are You Still There?
More ambient sounds, picking up from the previous track, overlaid with warm synth melodies, I hear this as a musical prayer of thanks, though I'm not religious, a thank you to the fans for being still here. It has something very personal at its heart, something really warm and joyous, yet intimate too. A kind of homecoming. Welcome back - we've missed you!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Chameleons - great to have you back!, 10 July 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Why Call It Anything (Audio CD)
Well, what can I say? 14 years since their last 'real' album (there have been many really good live/session/acoustic albums 'posthumously' released since their break-up in '87); this is the first album release of new material by this MASSIVELY underrated band.
Oh what a great album! Being a big Chameleons fan, of course I was worried that it may not live up to the standards of Script of the Bridge, What Does Anything Mean Basically and Strange Times. I guess every fan of a particular band has that concern when a new album is released, but especially after a 14 year wait!
But, for all those Chams fans out there, I can dispell your concerns. This new album is a masterpiece. Phew! But I knew they wouldn't disappoint. The distinctive melodic/atmospheric sound of Dave's and Reg's guitars are very prevalent, the rhythm/backbeat punchy in places, Mark's vocals at their finest. The lyrics highlighting Mark Burgess's poetic brilliance.
Particular tracks that stand out - Lufthansa for it's 'tear-inducing' beauty, Miracles and Wonders which has a vibrant emotional feel to it and includes the Chameleons latest arrival Kwasi, Dangerous Land which has some wonderful guitars, and Truth Isn't Truth Anymore which is an inspired track (and is excellent live). I confess that I am not great at describing the songs, and I am not doing them fair justice - just trust me they are great!
So, If you're a fan of the Chameleons, get it!!
If you're not a fan of the Chameleons or don't know who they are (shame on you!)- buy this album and discover what the large and very loyal worldwide fanbase already know.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's great to have you guys back, 19 July 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Why Call It Anything (Audio CD)
Like the other reviewer i was a little scared to hear what this new comeback cd might sound like. Would the chameleons be just another great band of the past who didn't know when to just call it quits? (echo and the bunnymen). My fears were completly erased by my second listen. This cd is incredible! How great to hear one of the truly great bands come back and sound so sweet and sure of themselves. Everything clicks here. From the energy of the opening track to the beautiful instrumental last track. The atmosphere is classic chameleons(the atmosphere that was missing by the way, in the good but not great post-chams solo work, invincible, sun and the moon etc.). One pleasant surprise old fans might find interesting is track 9 which is unlike anything the band has done before(at least what i've ever heard from earlier works!). This is one of my favourite tracks on the cd. Hopefully this cd brings back the old fans(you won't be dissapointed) and brings in new fans as well. This is one group who has been amazing for a long time and this new masterpeice just adds to the legend that is the chameleons.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Anyone with ears, to hear..., 28 Aug. 2013
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Reunion albums are always mediocre at best, right? I was wrong too...

Shades - The Chameleons are back! Atmospheric and pounding with tinkling guitars and soulful vocals from Mark. Cutting bass and swing in the drums. Singalong chorus and the guitar kisses the sky with Tom Verlaine style flourishes. Incidentally this album is beautifully produced.
Anyone Alive? - Slower and more keening, acoustic and ringing electric guitar. The first real hit of Chameleons emotion. Stunning chorus, utterly classic, simple but wonderfully effective and sung.
Indiana - Just so ridiculously catchy. Maybe the Chameleons song that just makes you want to dance! 3 songs in and the band is already exploring the many shades of their wonderful skill. On another planet this was a mega hit.
Lufthansa - A very heartfelt, almost religious song. A deep and passionate chorus, syrupy bass and resolutely slow drums cascade an introspective gem.
Truth Isnt Truth Anymore - a slow intro weaves its way round you like a cat around your ankles until the guitar kicks in backed by percussion. Another anthemic chorus. This song can make you melt.
All Around - One of the most incredible songs from one of the most incredible bands. This song is up there with Second Skin for sheer poetry. This song is perfect and the effect is has cannot be described.
Dangerous Land - a good song though suffers when compared to the sheer brilliance of what has come so far. Still better the vast majority of output by other bands of course though! It really takes off towards the end though with transcendent vocals.
Music In The Womb - a little sentimental for my tastes. The Chameleons are intensely heartfelt and emotional, but more in a poetic way whereas this is more direct and feels a little sugary for my tastes.
Miracles & Wonders - Staggering! Along with All Around another highlight of their entire career. Vocal and lyrics from Mark are sensational and the guest vocals? Genius! A sublime majestic work!
Are You Still There? - At atmospheric closer

The best thing to say is that unlike most reunion albums this isnt a pale retread of former glories: this is a CONTINUATION of The Chameleons. In fact I now consider this album to be their second best behind, of course, Strange Times (controversial maybe).
A wonderful album by a wonderful band. Buy it and and buy a musical companion!

The Chameleons music is music from the heart, music that will live in your veins.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A terrific pop album from an unexpected source, 28 Feb. 2002
By 
M. Brown (Cardiff United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Why Call It Anything (Audio CD)
What needs to be said about this album is that it is a FANTASTIC pop album. None of the early Chameleons albums were pop albums, and some may think that's a bad indication, but in this instance it's not, because these songs are instantly memorable, with brilliant hooks and melodies. The new Chameleons don't have that much in common with the old Chameleons, except for the brilliantly chiming guitars. Of course, Mark's voice has changed, and it's true that he tends to sound a bit like Marc Almond these days, but that's hardly a bad thing at all - he has merely learned to sing in a softer, more subtle way. It's true that he tends to repeat lines, but that never did any harm to the thousands of blues artists in the world. The lyrics aren't as poetically woven and visionary as they were on the first couple of Chameleons albums, but the music and melodies compensate for this. This really is a classic pop album. All Around You is the kind of killer pop song that could have been written in the late sixties by Small Faces or the Stones, but isn't in any way retro or dated - it's just class. They are all memorable songs, though, that you find circling round your head while walking down the street. But unlike another reviewer, I urge the Chameleons not to put more ragga on the next album. They just about get away with it on Miracles and Wonders (despite the ragga rant being pretty simplistic and annoying . . . 'to every action there is a reaction' . . . tell us something we don't know), but it is out of place and disconcerting. However, one forgives this, because of the strength of everything else on the album. It makes one think of all that was great about guitar groups in the eighties, and what is absolutely lacking from guitar groups now. The melodies, the thoughtful lyrics, the sheer jangly and angular dynamic of the guitars. The ambient close to the album is a beautiful conclusion - it sends the listener off into dreamy reverie. I was surprised and delighted at how excellent this album is. I prefer it to any of the previous Chameleons albums, which though excellent, are soundwise too much of their time. This is an album that will sound fresh a decade from now. Without question, the best pop album released in 2001. Terrific.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Chameleons - great to have you back!, 10 July 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Why Call It Anything (Audio CD)
Well, what can I say? 14 years since their last 'real' album (there have been many really good live/session/acoustic albums 'posthumously' released since their break-up in '87); this is the first album release of new material by this MASSIVELY underrated band.
Oh what a great album! Being a big Chameleons fan, of course I was worried that it may not live up to the standards of Script of the Bridge, What Does Anything Mean Basically and Strange Times. I guess every fan of a particular band has that concern when a new album is released, but especially after a 14 year wait!
But, for all those Chams fans out there, I can dispell your concerns. This new album is a masterpiece. Phew! But I knew they wouldn't disappoint. The distinctive melodic/atmospheric sound of Dave's and Reg's guitars are very prevalent, the rhythm/backbeat punchy in places, Mark's vocals at their finest. The lyrics highlighting Mark Burgess's poetic brilliance.
Particular tracks that stand out - Lufthansa for it's 'tear-inducing' beauty, Miracles and Wonders which has a vibrant emotional feel to it and includes the Chameleons latest arrival Kwasi, Dangerous Land which has some wonderful guitars, and Truth Isn't Truth Anymore which is an inspired track (and is excellent live). I confess that I am not great at describing the songs, and I am not doing them fair justice - just trust me they are great!
So, If you're a fan of the Chameleons, get it!!
If you're not a fan of the Chameleons or don't know who they are (shame on you!)- buy this album and discover what the large and very loyal worldwide fanbase already know.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Chameleons, 6 Oct. 2013
By 
David J. Andrews (Buffalo, New York United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Why Call It Anything (Audio CD)
While some reviews did not agree I thought this was another excellent disc from the Chameleons. I thought it picked up and evolved from where Tony Fletcher Walked On Water left off. Amazing songs with the power, atmosphere and twists that always epitomized the Chameleons.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An Average Chameleons Album But A Good Album By Any Standard, 19 May 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Why Call It Anything (Audio CD)
It was very unlikely that the band would come close to the genius visited on the first three albums but while it certainly doesn't do that,this is a fair effort.Happily the album does not sound like the Chameleons-By-Numbers affair i'd expected though there are,as you'd expect,one or two traits that old fans will know well.I prefer to think of it as a very good Reegs-Invincible album because so much time has passed since the first incarnation of the band that it seems unfair to expect them to produce music as high quality as they did first time round under the legendary moniker,because in this day and age few,if any,bands are creating great rock music,of this type anyway.
All the songs are good and i would particularly single out Shades,Truth Isn't Truth Anymore & Miracles And Wonders as coming close to recapturing some of the old magic.Just a pity that there were not a few more hard-rocking tracks because the album veers close to appearing a bit too mellow at times.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, but mellower than I was expecting..., 15 Aug. 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Why Call It Anything (Audio CD)
I think it's fair to say that if you've kept up with the solo stuff (Burgess, Reegs, etc) there's nothing too surprising on here. With the exception of Shades (a good opener, I thought), there's not a lot that sounds instantly like the Chameleons of old. Which is good, since none of the first three albums sounded very similar either. It all gets very mellow, however - no bad thing, but there's nothing here to match either the fury of Don't Fall or Mad Jack, or the bowel-loosening terror of Home is where the Heart Lies. But when Miracles and Wonders starts, it suddenly doesn't matter. It's a wonderful track - more Kwasi on the next one, please!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Album!, 22 April 2015
By 
A. King (UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Why Call It Anything (Audio CD)
Another great album from The Chameleons! More upbeat than earlier stuff but they still have that deep and profound lyrics! Mark Burgess sings with an unrelenting passion!!!
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