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3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Whirlpool - The Original Recordings
Format: Audio CD|Change
Price:£14.13+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime

on 22 March 2010
Hmm. The chapterhouse story for me is one of immense potential, but tragically little recorded product that shows what they were really capable of. Leading up to and around their early records, their gigs were incendiary, a three-guitar attack that was thrilling and promised so much more than the other bands in the so-called Scene That Celebrates Itself like Ride, Lush, Boo Radleys and others. Which brings me to the records.

Falling Down was a fine single, the wah-wah fitting into the baggy sound that was still the ruling indie sound of the time, though live it was hardly a standout. Something More, the follow-up, was fantastic, Feel The Same on the flip likewise. And so to the album.

Whirlpool felt like a colossal disappointment, overproduced and, I don't know, overthought? The production (partly by the great lord of shimmery guitars, Cocteau Twin Robin Guthrie) decidedly chose treble and brightness over depth and dirt and at once removed the earthiness and life from songs that live were vibrant and full of visceral energy. Where was the 'grrrr'? Treasure just about survived, but the rest had the life surgically removed, bass was barely audible in the mix and Something More was turned into a Cocteau Twins pastiche. Falling Down with its swagger, in this company now sounded like the pick of the bunch. This from a band that apparently Alan McGee turned down at Creation for sounding 'too much like the Stooges'. That now sounded inconceivable.

So, on finding that there were a set of 'original recordings' going about my mind got to thinking excitedly about the possibility of hearing the songs as they should have sounded, based on how they sounded live, an aural assault. Unfortunately I have to report that this is not that record. Basically this sounds like demos of the versions that were released on Whirlpool back in the day. Okay, yes they sound a little rougher, but rougher in the sense of the recording, in the way that a live tape does, not in any way which reflects the way they were actually playing. Their vision here was obviously essentially that which was realised on the album. So, I can't see myself playing this again, unfortunately. But I haven't given up hope that the sound that I loved, perhaps a set of demos recorded and then shelved, around the time of Something More, might one day come to light.
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on 10 May 2006
I have contacted the record company, Cherry Red and they inform me that the 2 tracks Rain and Die, Die, Die were pulled by the band at the last minute, due to space constraints on the CD. The literature had already been sent to the press, leading to the incorrect tracklisting.

Rain was a great cover of the Beatles classic, where Die, Die, Die was a thrashy loud noisemonster of a special 12", given free with the vinyl LP. Not really in keeping with the rest of the material on this CD so an easy one to drop - shame.

The music that is contained on this CD is of its time and doesn't hold up as well as its successor, Blood Music. That's not to say I don't love it, I do. Some class tracks on here such as the sublime Pearl, Something More (EP version, which I always preferred), If You Want Me - a 2 minute masterpiece and my favourite album track, Feel The Same - my favourite "B-side".

I just hope they intend to reissue "Blood Music" together with their best EP, "Mesmerise". They might have space to include Rain on this but I'd imagine drum club remixs of She'a a Vision etc will win out. Die, Die, Die would sound even more strange on a "Blood Music" reissue
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#1 HALL OF FAMEon 8 March 2006
As is evident from such bands as Jenifever, Radio Dept., Engineers, Amusement Parks on Fire, Battles, Explosions in the Sky, Sigur Ros, Mogwai, Ladytron, Joy Zipper & Ambulance Ltd there are many acts which explore the terrain of shoegazing and are probably influenced by such bands as Boo Radleys, Chapterhouse, Lush, Pale Saints, Ride, and Slowdive - bands who despite being tagged shoegazers fitted into a general world that included Cocteau Twins, Eno's ambient work, AR Kane, My Bloody Valentine, Dead Can Dance, Loop-Main, Spacemen 3, Talk Talk, Dinosaur Jr., Galaxie 500, Seefeel, Levitation,Opal and Durutti Column. Ignore the negative tag that shoegazing became when grunge came into vogue and music journalists pretended never to have been that interested...
Chapterhouse, like Slowdive, came from Reading and were part of a wider Thames Valley collective that included Ride, Swervedriver and Thousand Yard Stare. I suppose their name came from a Dune-novel rather than the upper-class college most of Genesis attended? They appeared in 1990 with the 'Free Fall' and 'Sunburst' e.p.'s and a strong live reputation - the frequent encore was their Loop-style thrash 'Die Die Die' - which was once hard to find and is now included as a bonus track.
1991 saw the release of debut 'whirlpool' which has dated wonderfully - unlike several albums by their peers (think 'Everything's Alright Forever', Curve, The Catherine Wheel, Moose & Pale Saints) - the sound is close to that of AR Kane and Cocteau Twins and all the better for that. The original 9-track album is a lush sequence, ideal for a summer day, some perfect sex, hallucinatory plane-trips, insomnia, pastoral exploration or ethereal contemplation (as Julian Cope once said "It's just like sleeping gas- it's so ethereal!"). This is perhaps the place to turn after Cocteau Twins' 'Heaven or Las Vegas' - the point where many found Guthrie & co to become less vital.
Opener 'breather' is a joy, as is the later 'autosleeper' - though the one-word titles became a bit of a general cliche in the early 1990s and you wonder if the song title 'treasure' is ever needed by an indie-alternative band? The lead track from 'Free Fall' appears a bit harder than the 1990 version, but generally the same - its beats having more in common with Primal Scream's 'Loaded', while over the top drones and feedback and a pop song of sorts is present. 'Sunburst's 'Something More' closes the LP and is radically re-recorded- it does sound fine and deserves to find its way onto a film's soundtrack, but it's very Cocteau Twins and a shame that the 1990 original isn't included (just for completist sake!).
The beats of 'Falling Down' continued on third single and closest thing Chapterhouse had to a hit - 'Pearl'. This is the one with 'When the Levee Breaks' style drums (all the rage in the late 80s/early 90s - mostly in dance-orientated and hip-hop music) and additional vocals from Slowdive's Rachel Goswell. It's proof that so-called alternative acts could create perfect pop songs - and deserves to rank alongside similar examples of the era: Teenage Fanclub's 'God Knows It's True', Ride's 'vapour trail', Ultra Vivid Scene's 'Staring at the Sun', Pale Saints' 'Sight of You', Stone Roses' 'Elephant Stone', Spiritualized's 'Anyway That You Want Me', Verve's 'Slide Away' & Curve's 'Ten Little Girls.' A classic waiting to be rediscovered and ideal for any 2006 summer soundtrack...
This reissue of 'whirlpool' (whose cover is wonderful and the best cat on cover since Depeche Mode's 'Just Can't Get Enough') now comes with several bonus tracks, taken from 'Free Fall', 'Sunburst' & the 'Pearl'-single. 'Come Heaven' and 'In My Arms' were good enough to make the album - while the cover of The Beatles' 'Rain' is fine and fits well on a compilation back to back with Husker Du's 'Eight Miles High.'
'whirlpool' warrants rediscovery in this expanded/remastered form and should appeal to people who listen to such acts as Delays, Sigur Ros, Jeniferever (or whatever they're called!), Ambulance Ltd. & Silver Mt Zion. One that sits well alongside last year's Cocteau Twins box-set, the recent Ride & Slowdive reissues and the revered 'Loveless.'
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on 30 November 2009
The re-release on Cherry Red is a complete rip-off. I am 100% sure it has been mastered from low-level MP3 (96 kbps or worse). Really annoying.

No one who treats his customers like Cherry Red should complain about illegal downloads. I deeply regret having spent my money on this.
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on 23 May 2010
A previous reviewer of this is indeed correct.

A mistake was made in the creation of this cd, so the first 9 tracks which made up the original Dedicated records version of 'Whirpool' come from a lower quality mp3 source.
There's a lot more information to be found on the subject on various shoegazing forums, but the easy way to tell if you have an 'mp3 sourced' version (Cherry Red having repressed the cd using the correct source - though they've now apparently run out of this version and are again issuing incorrect cds), is that the corrected cd has a reference TC2159 on the inner cd ring.

On some later incorrect cds there is also the wrong version of 'Something More' on the cd; the Robin Guthrie produced 3.31 version is on the Dedicated original, a 3.21 version from either of the ep releases on the incorrect cd, though it's harder to confirm which and it's not shown on Musicbrainz, so the TC2159 reference is key.

If buying a used copy, I suggest going for the Dedicated original and a copy of Rowderbout, which would give you the same tracks; unless the seller can confirm the TC2159 reference is on the disc ring.

Instructions for finding the corrected Cherry Red version; "if anyone is unsure which version they have, they should turn the disc over and look at the writing around the central hole on the silver playing side. You should see the catalogue number CDMRED304, and opposite, the reference TC2159. This means you have the corrected version."

A shame too, as the album itself is excellent and one of my favourites.
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on 30 August 2003
This 1991 release by Chapterhouse is one of the all time "shoegazer" classics. ALl the usual cliches apply to this one ... ethereal , swirly , dreamy , lush ...
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on 8 September 2016
I ordered this because it was being advertised as a 2016 version. I bought it in the hope that being from this year it was a new corrected version sourced from the digital audio tape. Unfortunately it showed no signs of being from this year and was just another from the mp3 source. It sounded rough in places so I sent it back.
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VINE VOICEon 27 February 2006
Its easy to forget, but even in 1991 indie music didn't really sell. So for bands like Chapterhouse success was grazing the perimeter of the Top 40 with the occasional single and selling out the Town and Country Club. This is a pity because Chapterhouse had much more of a commerical sensibility than many of the "shoegazer" bands they were lumped together with, and songs like Breather or Pearl are just the sort of things that break bands into the big time these days. Still, those were the days when bands were "yours" so I guess we should all be happy for that. Highly recommended.
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on 10 July 2006
It's not true that "Die Die Die" or "Rain" would have got its first ever CD issue on this album: they already appeared on the 2CD set "Rownderbowt" at the end of the last decade, which is an excellent coverage of all the Chapterhouse's career, including the second album and some final demos and remixes. Get that if you can, but this is fine stuff as well.
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on 28 May 2014
Great purchase, but the first 9 tracks (album tracks) were made from lossy mp3s just a user found out and revealed on the shoegaze.co.uk forum.
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