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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 NICHOLLS.

"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 improve."

"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 these days."

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 today.

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 unhealthy."

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 any more.

The "Sunburst" EP is released October 22 through Dedicated Records.

Orignally appeared in Melody Maker October 20 ,1990. Copyright © Melody Maker