The Chills - Electric Circus, Edinburgh, Fri 1 Aug 2014 (4 stars)

Cult NZ band return with unique blend of post-punk, Velvets drone and 60s garage pop

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The Chills

The Kiwi pop explosion of the early 80s continues to reverberate. To those of us who find much of that decade’s British indie too limpid and pale, the Flying Nun label bands are the holy grail: an inspired blend of post-punk, Velvets drone and 60s garage pop, with a unique edge of the world feel. The Chills were always a little more baroque than their Dunedin brethren, Martin Phillips’ songwriting being full of seemingly effortless melodic twists and structural turns.

Now 51, Phillips is very much back in action, following long struggles with drug addiction and illness. The new line-up, including violinist and guitarist Erica Sally and dynamic sticksman Todd Knudson, sound graceful and energetic, breathing new life into the classics, from a magical ‘The Night of Chill Blue’ to the lunar train ride of ‘Rolling Moon’, via the punky trash of ‘I Love My Leather Jacket’ and the aptly named ‘Heavenly Pop Hit’. ‘Pink Frost’, perhaps the greatest of all New Zealand pop songs, sends shivers, Phillips’ guitar glinting through a reverb fog. While not quite in the same league, new songs like ‘Molten Gold’ and ‘Aurora Corona’, hit the spot, suggesting Phillips is back for good.

Electric Circus, Edinburgh, Fri 1 Aug

The Chills

Cult 80s New Zealand guitar-pop band.

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