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Customer reviews

5.0 out of 5 stars

on 24 March 2010
As numerous other reviewers have pointed out, there's something a bit special about track four, Second Skin. The lyrics give a flavour of this:

Then he turned smiling
And said
I realise a miracle is due
I dedicate this melody to you
But is this the stuff dreams are made of?
If this is the stuff dreams are made of
No wonder I feel like I'm floating on air
It feels like I'm everywhere

Absolute genius. What the lyrics alone can't convey, of course, is how shot through with emotion and a sense of wonder this song is, to say nothing of the album as a whole, which includes gems such as Don't Fall and Monkeyland. I know I've singled Second Skin out for praise, but the album as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts and it's a pleasure to add my comments to the 20 other five-star reviews on here.

PS Script of the Bridge has since been reissued, but in my view there's nothing wrong with this edition - though the reissue does have the advantage of a bonus disc.
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on 22 November 2016
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on 2 March 2016
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on 12 March 2017
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on 21 November 1999
"Script of the Bridge" is an astounding debut album, certainly the finest UK rock album of the early 80's. The Chameleons are influenced by the early Psychedelic Furs/Bunnymen/Cure but what makes them stand out is the fine production, inventive, imaginative lyrics and above all the melodic compositions. This is all fused with a powerhouse delivery which none of their influences ever managed in the studio. Echoes of the Beatles and 60's psychedelia can be heard on this album too. "Second Skin", a six and a half minute opus, is the centrepiece of the album, ethereal yet displaying all the best elements of alternative indie guitar rock. Other highlights include the spine-tingling, beautiful, then rocking Monkeyland, the driving opening track Don't Fall and the album closer, View From a Hill, with its achingly beautiful closing refrain that stays in the memory. Mark Burgess's lyrics, centering on the lost innocence of childhood and love are wistful yet never turn into self-pitying dirges. The twin guitars of Reg Smithies and Dave Fielding are backed by discreet, atmospheric keyboards which are subtle and have remained fresh. John Lever's fine, distinctive drumming propels the album through its 66 minute duration. A superb effort which deserves to be held alongside other 80's luminaries of the Manchester indie scene. A classic that is finely crafted and will appeal to many whilst retaining a distinctive sound of its own. Also recommended are the Chameleons' early singles collected on the Fan and the Bellows alongside What Does Anything Mean?Basically, a worthy second album.
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on 23 February 2006
I bought all the Chameleons albums at the same time after being given a few of their songs on a mix tape and it was like discovering that you'd actually been living on another planet. Fantastic musicianship, superb quality control and a depth of feeling that is almost unheard of in popular music. SOTB, for me, was a grower. A few of the songs are instantly appealing (Especially Up The Down Escalator, which is mind blowingly effective) all of the songs in time found a way to my heart (Some took years!) I would concur that Second Skin is utterly awesome (Although after a thousand spins it doesn't have the same effect as it once did.) This is an album that no self respecting fan of alternative rock should be without.
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on 9 April 2001
The mind boggles when you think of the number of artists who have been influenced -directly or indirectly - by the Chameleons. It's a travesty that this recording isn't held in the same esteen as the original recordings by Oasis or any of the Chameleons legion of disciples.
And it's testament to the sheer sonic brilliance of these tracks that they stand up as seminal examples of timeless guitar-based studiocraft which blows away most of the insipid productions emerging in the 21st Century. And Mark Burgess's voice and are as haunting and disturbing as ever.
I'd forgotten how good this was - buy it and one day you might get the chance to forget - although probably not :-)
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on 30 November 2017
I have almost 5000 albums in my collection but this is the only one that matters , every second of Script Of The Bridge is chill inducingly astounding , god i love this album!!
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on 5 August 2005
The Chameleons are one of those cultish, lost bands from the decade which is frequently written off, or summarised in Q-Mojo-style orthodoxy as 'the demise of The Jam - The Smiths - The Stone Roses', with perhaps an allusion to New Order if feeling especially adventerous (maybe only to mention the sleeve to 'Blue Monday' or the Hacienda, leading towards a tale of Sean Ryder taking drugs, which is as cool as Pete Doherty, whose the coolest mama in the sphere...)But a reassessment is due that decade, and to be fair is getting such a critical response - people realising that the roots of someone hip like The White Stripes is to be found in such 80s records as 'Fire of Love', 'Hallowed Ground' & 'Psychedelic Jungle.' While bands like Bloc Party, The Editors, Franz Ferdinand & Interpol nod towards the young men in long coats like The Bunnymen, The Cure, Joy Division & The Psychedelic Furs. Added to that great compilations-reissues like Orange Juice's 'The Glasgow School' and Scritti Politti's 'Early', and things like the development of electronic music, hip-hop and rave and the decade doesn't seem as empty as some suggest on nostalgia TV and simplistic articles. Heck, The Killers have even made Duran Duran seem like a good idea, despite lyrics like "My head is full of chopstick - I don't like it!"
But The Chameleons, and their potent back-catalogue are yet to be reclaimed from a decade that has been out of grace - 'Script of a Bridge' as the follow-ups 'The Fan & the Bellows', 'Strange Times' & 'What Does Anything Mean Basically?'
is a wonderful album - just sadly known only to a knowing few. Simon Reynolds, in his otherwise excellent book on post-punk and new-pop seems to have missed a trick or two in the chapter on what was later called 'big music' (The Bunnymen, U2, Teardrops, Waterboys, Simple Minds) - where was mention for The Chameleons in all that?
'Script of a Bridge', as any of the aforementioned albums would be an ideal primer to the band - the sound of 'Script' sounding like The Teardrop Explodes playing 'Crocodiles', though as several people I know and don't know have pointed out, the rather hip Interpol sound not unlike The Chameleons! I know Joy Division tend to be the hip comparison point for Carlos D. et al, something based on their lead singer's live-vocals, their static gothness live, and the first few seconds of drumming on 'PDA', but really, The Chameleons are much more the reference! (along with 'Heaven Up Here'-Bunnymen, Josef-K & 'Talk Talk Talk'-Furs) 'Script of a Bridge', apart from the sometime drum-machine sounding drums (common to the era, I'm afraid) easily stands up and offers a huge all encompassing sound with angular and chiming guitars that should please any fans of 'Antics' or 'Turn on the Bright Lights'...
It's all great - 'As High As You Can Go' introducing keyboards to the mix, asking us to "take a chance and join the dance and you can make the sun/take a chance and join the dance and you can go to ground...", the downer-rock of 'Monkeyland', the huge 'Up the Down Escalator' (whose chiming riffs are like a slower 'Debaser'!), & the epic closer 'View from a Hill' - whose spectral opening guitars are totally 'The Specialist'
'Script of a Bridge' is a classic of the era, from a band who released many great records, but just didn't get the audience they deserved - lumping them in a set of neglected greats including The Comsat Angels, The Sound & The Wild Swans. It is entirely possible, as the posthumous-popularity of Big Star, Nick Drake & The Velvet Underground proves, that people will catch on in the end. The hip-retro sound of 2013, or sooner?
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on 14 September 2005
After being introduced to The Chameleons by the late, great John Peel in 1983, I bought this album and it changed my life.
I'm not going to analyse each song because every one is an absolute classic, and the album as a whole is pure genius.
It still amazes me that they never reached superstardom because their songs could easily fill stadiums the world over. Unfortunately, they never got the recognition they deserved because they wouldn't compromise the music or their image to sell records, but those of us who were there know that we were part of something special. I urge anyone who hasn't heard of The Chameleons but who likes early U2, Bunnymen, Psychedelic Furs, Verve, Interpol, Stills, Longview, Engineers, The Open, and yes even Coldplay, to buy this album now!
Occasionally when talking to strangers about music you hear "..aah, so you like The Chameleons then?" ...followed by the knowing smile of a secret shared. Awesome.
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