Pretty Green

Chapterhouse Album Review: Whirlpool

Chapterhouse Whirlpool Album CoverThe great band you never heard of. Released in 1991 the album “Whirlpool” by Chapterhouse towed the line between the Madchester and Shoegaze scenes falling more on the side of The Stone Roses pop sensibilities. Opening with their best song “Breather” your cant help but like the infectious if a bit overused Madchester drums, lead guitar licks, and dreamy vocals. More mind blowing than the song is that it was never a single! “Pearl” is the perfect dreampop followup with it’s build up towards the “oooo woo ooo” ending.  Another track “Falling Down” might as well be the Charlatans “Some Friendly” brother by another mother moment with it’s wah-wah guitars.

Where this album falls out of step a bit is when it goes too far into Shoegaze production on the tracks like “guilt” and “treasure”.  If you like that though then it’s not exactly a problem.  With that said the ending of “Whirlpool” doesn’t match the rush of beginning and I suppose that’s why on the re-release there were quite a few tracks tacked on. On that re-release you go from “Feel The Same” with it’s more Madchester opening beat and guitars to the heavily distorted guitars and drone vocals on “inside me” that sounds totally dated by today’s standards. The re-issue’s final track “In My Arms” with it’s up-tempo beat, soft keyboards, and projected vocals does give it a good send off – though it does lack a good chorus.

“Whirlpool” combines essential elements of both the Madchester and Shoegaze scenes, but somehow seems to miss that one element needed to make it truly great.  And that’s probabaly why you heard of The Stone Roses and not Chapterhouse. Though you should now and please do give them shot. They may be your next favorite old band.