So near, Solar
They're Sonic Boom's favorite band, they may have inspired Ride in their early days and
they're about to release a record, the 'Sunburst' EP, that will elevate them to the stus
of their peers. PAUL LESTER discovers why Reading's CHAPTERHOUSE think they'll nly be
appreciated after they've split. And will they have time to reach oragasm? Pics: PHIL
"WE'RE ABOUT TO HAVE AN ORGASM!"
This isn't how it looks. Chapterhouse are sitting in a Brighton
greasy spoon, discussing the body-convulsing pleasures of
orgasmic release, as you do, to make a broader comment. A
musical comment. Sorry.
"I think a lot of bands are tying to get to an orgasmic point with
their music," says the cruelly pretty Andy Sherriff, "but they're not
quite getting there. But the thing is, they might get to that point in a
year or so it they're allowed, or given the time and space, to
"And that's what we're tying to do," adds Chopterhouse's other
cutely-boned singer/guitarist Stephen Patman. "We're trying to
develop to a point where we con reach orgasm! Some songs are
literally orgasmic - not in a real sense, in your mind - and just to
achieve one of those in a lifetime is something worth striving for."
SOME of Chopterhouse's tracks do, indeed, induce the kind of
heart palpitations and lightening of consciousness rormally
associated with climactic sensory gratification. Right now,
though, the question is: are todays young acts, of which
Reading's Chapterhouse are a stellar example, being rushed and
pushed and pressurised to such an extent that they don't hove
time to develop at their own pace?
Stephen: "It's all about immediate gratification nowadays, or
else people don't wanna know."
Andy: "Groups like The Beatles, the Stones, My Bloody
Valentine and Sonic Youth all took five or six years to develop
their own sound into something they were sure about. We've only
been around for two."
Stephen: "People expect
genius in the first record
Andy: "Exactly. But
you've gotto keep an
open mind and let a band
develop, not just give up,
on them if they happen to
play a bad gig. If you'd
taken that attitude with My
Bloody Valentine, they
wouldn't be anywhere
THEY'RE right. There
are hardly any mavericks
left, bands or singers who make album after album, some of
which are artistic triumphs, others of which are dismal failures,
but all of which go to comprise a body of work that is rich,
com p!ex, patchy, extreme and, above all, extensive, Think of the
dozens of records by Bob Dylan or Neil Young, pr the quantum
jump made by The Beach Boys between the tinny, crackly
surf pop of their early Sixties period, and the dizzying peaks they
were climbing only two years later.
Nowadays, the music business is ruthlessly streamlined, knows
precisely what it wants (a hit) and how to get it (strike forces,
strategic marketing). The turnover is astonishingly fast.
"That's why I feel so sorry for Ride," says bassist Russell Barren
(drummer Ashley Bates, and guitarist Simon Rowe are
soundchecking). "The're gonna to have to live up to being
pushed forward so soon."
Stephen: "People are so impatient, they want it NOW. No
one's willing to stick with a band any more.
Russell: "That's why so many bands disappear so fast. Their life
expectancy is only about one or two albums. It's all very
AS Russell says, Ride are facing this predicament as we speak.
But it could so easily have been Reading's Chapterhouse at
Number 34 in the charts instead of the Oxford boy wonders. A
couple of years ago, when Chapterhouse had just formed, they
played a gig at the Jericho Arms in Oxford. In the audience was
a quartet of impressionable men who later got together
as the group who we now all know and adore as the accessible
face of storming melodic chaos.
Do Chapterhouse resent Ride's success?
Andy: "We're not pissed off at them, only at the whole situation.
What would annoy us, as has actually happened, is if people
started going on about how Ride influenced us."
Stephen: "It's frustrating cos we've been working at it for along
while. We knew Ride a long way back and existed on parallel
planes, and we've been going in sort of the same direction ever
since. But it's frustrating when they're taken to be..."
Andy: "...the prime movers! We think we can co-exist with
them, though. How can we put down aband who are doing what
we've been doing forages?"
Have Chapterhouse got Ride's commercial potential?
Stephen: "Maybe, but I don't know if we're as sellable."
Andy: "There are lots ofthings to bearin mind, like image..."
Russell: "They niight possibly appeal too wider audience."
Stephen: "Plus, their songs are more poppy than ours, more
accessible, and that's great cos we're really into pop music. I
mean, our stuff's pop as well, only it's a bit more distorted."
STEPHEN agrees when I suggest that Ride perhaps offer a
cute point of access into the noisepop volcano (although Russell
and co are no slouches themselves in the cheekbones and charm
departments), while Andy reckons Chapterhouse's forthcoming
LP will be a "real eye-opener".
"I was a bit worried about hearing the Ride album," he says,
"And Iwas hoping that ours wouldn't be too similar, cos we
recorded them at the same time. But I was quite relieved cos we're
actually going in a different direction to them now. Our songs are
so diverse, you need an album to really capture our identity. I
think Ride suffered a bit from putting some of their good tracks on
their EPs. We've kept our best stuff for the album."
It's going to be an exceptional long-playing record if
Chapterhouse's "Sunburst" EP is any bright measure.
"Something More", like the debut EP's "Falling Down", is at the
wah-wah white out intersection where wazzy meets noise (My
Bloody Valentine, indeed). "Satin Safe" is in two ports, the metal
grinding "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" bit, and the slash-riff
sinister Hammer horror fast bit ("It's an experiment in evil,"
Stephen soys. "You won't have heard anything like it").
"Rain" is a cover of The Beatles song, bockwards Middle
Eastern sitar-guitar and all, but never stoops to lazy retro-isms
due to its blinding flash of speed and awitude. "Feel The Same"
merges stridency with poignancy more tellingly than anything
since MBV's "No More Sorry", and is a track of the year.
"I've got this doomy feeling that we're not gonna be appreciated
til we don't exist any more," says Stephen. "if we do succeed
now, great. But the way things are going I don't really think
people are gonna see us for what we are until we're not around
The "Sunburst" EP is released October 22 through Dedicated Records.
Orignally appeared in Melody Maker October 20 ,1990. Copyright © Melody Maker