The Chameleons - Strange Times

03 January, 2012

By Nixxie



It would be overly simplistic to state that The Chameleons promised so much and yet, ultimately, under-delivered. After all they put out three albums before disbanding in 1986, and then reunited in 2000 to come up with a further two. It's these first three that make it difficult to understand why Messrs.' Burgess (vocals / bass), Smithies (guitar) Fielding (guitar) and Lever (drums) never reached the 'next level' that contemporaries such as Robert Smith's Cure did.


It just takes one quick listen to Strange Times for any discerning listener to notice this potential. This is a dark, eerie at times record that nevertheless also provides some wintry, earthy moments with bittersweet notes. The opener, Mad Jack, boasts one of the album's more energizing riffs, throwing you headfirst into Burgess' well delivered musings.


The third track, Tears is an acoustic masterpiece, beautifully elegant yet at the same time displaying very subtly dark undertones. Soul in Isolation, the next track, is my personal favourite on the album. The way the track sets off, with the well-executed drum rolls, the emotive guitar-work and, above all, Burgess' ability to convey so convincingly his despair at feeling alien from the rest of the world. "I'm alive in here, I'm alive in here; when you think on it, we're all, Souls in Isolation" Majestic.


Swamp Thing is probably the album's best known track, the quintessential Chameleons offering. This is in fact what got me into them in the first place and I remember instantly feeling drawn to the complexity, the gloom this song has to offer. It's truly epic. Another highlight for me is the exquisite rendition of The Beatles' Tomorrow Never Knows.


Overall, Strange Times is a classic record and a precursor for a number of subsequent Post-punk, New Wave and Gothic movements. It is certainly worthy of a place among other groundbreaking genre-defining classic albums.




Primary Genre: Rock

Subgenre: New Wave

Release Date: 1986

Label: Geffen

Influences: David Bowie, The Velvet Underground, Joy Division

Like This And You'll Probably Also Like: Cocteau Twins, The Psychedelic Furs, The Cure

Album Highlights:   Soul In Isolation, Swamp Thing, Inside Out, Tears











"Well considering this LP did so much for so many subsequent genres and artists, it would be impossible to understate its importance. A true classic, 8/10"




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Raised in England, educated by France, originally from Greece. 
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Favourite Bands / Artists
The Clash
Smashing Pumpkins
The Prodigy
Type O Negative