Best tunes of 1993: #10 Chapterhouse “She’s a vision”

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It’s amazing to think of it now with so many bands waving the shoegaze and dream pop banners, ever since those genres saw a huge revival in the early 2000s, because the original scene only lasted for a brief, but shining period in the early 1990s. All the original shoegaze bands attempted to distance themselves and to move on from their original sound in order to find a place in big music and I can’t think of a single one that truly survived at the time.

Chapterhouse’s debut album, 1991’s “Whirpool”, is seen by many to be one of the great examples of the genre, featuring that outstanding single, “Pearl” which appeared on my favourite tunes list of that year. They returned a couple of years later with a very different, electronic-infused sound on their sophomore album, “Blood music”, which confounded their previous fans and perhaps, many of that time’s record buying public alike. Still, that album’s two singles managed to chart on the UK singles lists, one of which was “She’s a vision”, the focus of today’s post.

“She’s a vision
There’s no one who can tell her what to do
She’s a vixen
And she’s the only one that can break it down”

Like the woman, the object of the affection in the song’s lyrics, the four and half minutes of this track are a reflection of pure pop bliss. The wiry and screaming guitars flay and flail, a rattling and ricocheting drum beat endures without end, inducing a need to jump and scramble. The song is massive and explosive. It’s confettii and lazer beams and frantic and frenetic motion.

I remember catching the band on tour for this album, just on chance because they were opening for The Wonder Stuff on that band’s final North American tour. I was standing right in front. Because, of course, I was. This song hit me like a hammer that night and it never fails to get me going these days, all these years later.

For the rest of the Best tunes of 1993 list, click here.

Live music galleries

Live music galleries: Mumford & Sons [2013]

(I got the idea for this series while sifting through the ‘piles’ of digital photos on my laptop. It occurred to me to share some of these great pics from some of my favourite concert sets from time to time. Until I get around to the next one, I invite you to peruse my ever-growing list of concerts page.)

Mumford and Sons @ Osheaga 2013

Artist: Mumford & Sons
When: August 4th, 2013
Where: River stage, Osheaga, Jean Drapeau Park, Montreal
Context: Ten years ago this summer, I attended Montreal’s Osheaga arts and music festival with my good friends Tim and Mark. It was an unforgettable weekend and we saw countless amazing performances over the festival’s three days. I’ve already posted photos* from some of the weekend’s sets and plan to share a few more of these in the months leading up to this year’s edition, which I will sadly not be attending. Some of these posts will have fewer photos than my normal galleries, including today’s, but this should not be taken to be indicative of the quality of the performances, but of the difficulty of obtaining quality pics while being so completely in the moment.

If I am being completely honest here, we didn’t stick around for Mumford and Sons’ whole festival-ending set. After all the excitement of New Order just beforehand and all the rest of the great sets we had seen that weekend, the British indie folk outfit felt a bit anticlimactic. They had just released their second album and were still on top of the world so they had amassed a huge crowd for their set and they were right into it. Live, the group really does the high energy thing well but they sounded just a little too slick. As Tim quipped: “They’re pretty good. They sound just like they do on the albums.” After the first few songs, though, the allure of sitting down in a pub and drinking something other than Molson Canadian or Coors Light was just too great.**
Point of reference song: I will wait

Winston Marshall on banjo
Ben Lovett and Marcus Mumford
Ted Dwane and Winston Marshall
Marcus Mumford

*Past galleries from this festival weekend have included the following:

**I’ll be getting a second chance at catching a whole set by Mumford this summer at this year’s Bluesfest.


Vinyl love: Blur “The special collector’s edition”

(Vinyl Love is a series of posts that quite simply lists, describes, and displays the pieces in my growing vinyl collection. You can bet that each record was given a spin during the drafting of each corresponding post.)

Artist: Blur
Album Title: The special collector’s edition
Year released: 1994
Year reissued: 2023
Details: RSD 2023 reissue, 2 x LP, Light blue translucent

The skinny: Long gone are the days when I would set the alarm to wake up early, drive downtown, and queue up in a massive line at one of my favourite independent record stores for a chance at purchasing one of that year’s Record Store Day exclusives. In fact, there have been some years in the last handful where I haven’t even ventured out at all and instead, tried and generally succeeded at tracking down some of the exclusives online. This year, though, I decided to head out for the festivities* in person, albeit arriving at the respectable hour of 11 am, instead of 7:30 am, when the employees at the store I chose to visit opened up early to a ridiculous amount of waiting customers. I had my own eye out for a couple of the special releases and yesterday, found one of the two at Compact Music, and so after flipping through the rest of that store’s wares on the racks**, I returned home satisfied with my limited participation. Then, last night, I gave Blur’s “The special collector’s edition” a proper spin for the first time and quite enjoyed it. Originally released as a Japan-only release back in 1994, this b-sides collection, from what I would consider the best period of one of my favourite bands, featured some tracks with which I was already familiar*** but others that I had never at all heard before. For even more fun, the artwork plays upon magazine pull out adverts for collector’s edition memorabilia that I always though no one ever purchased. Twenty-four hours and two full spins later, I am still quite pleased with my Record Store Day purchase.

Standout track: “When the cows come home”

*Unlike last year when I went out a day afterwards and still found what I was looking for.

**And finding a non-RSD exclusive to bring home with me.

***Including the above tune, a hidden track on the CD copy I had of 1993’s “Modern life is rubbish”, and one of my favourites on that particular album.