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Book of Daze

Reading-based guitar freakos CHAPTERHOUSE take a leaf out of Spacemen 3's book.

Modesty, coming from a bright-eyed, smooth-skinned pop group usually means one of two things.

Either they're potentially brilliant, or they' re crap. CHAPTERHOUSE, who are five lank-haired, rip-kneed, freako guitar obsessed-streaks of too-too polite groupie-bait from Reading, definitely fall into the first category.

They've just released their first EP 'Falling Down' on Dedicated, and the thing to ask is, why do some Chapterhouse songs sound like an orgy of '60s bliss-noise exploding dirtily between your brain- synapses like a million incandescent sparks, and some of them sound like Loop in a blender?

"Erm...well, we all like dlffemnt sorts of music," they mutter. "We all write songs and we all play guitar and that's just the way it comes out. Like, we use psychedelic things from the past, but we're also trying to do new things."

"The thing about what Chapternouse is is a bit hard, because we don't think we've got them yet. What we've done so far is alright, but it's just a step to what we want"

They're being hard on themselves. Their four-track EP is a cross-hatching of strearing, evil guitar noise, trlppy over-layed effects, head- in-the-cloud vocals and fledgling pop sensibility. The title track itself, with its wah- wah overload, 'Strawberry Fields' melody and one of those shuffling drum loops is verging on the territory of dance-rock crossover. But Chapternouse are actually free of 'scene' connections.

They are Andrew, Stephen, Simon, Russell and Ashley. Them are three guitarists. They get sneered at in Reading pubs for looking grubby.

A local Reading gig brought them to the attention of Sonic Boom who pronounced them one of his favourite bands of '88. A summer '89 tour with Spacemen 3 followed, and they waited for the EP to come out.

"We're not really an angry band... particularly," they ooncede. "More a bit cynical and disillusioned." You sound pretty aggmssive.

"We're into heavy guitars, yeah, but we'm more into getting sounds out of guitar that interest us. We try to be a bit more experimental."

Who thinks Eric Clapton is God?

"Exactly... I mean we're definitely a guitar band, but there am so many guitar sounds you've heard before, so it's sort of one of our ambitions to do something new. We like the stuff, say, like Glenn Bmnca was doing with No Wave, but it's hard to fit that into songs"

How far do your ambitions stretch?

"Stadium rockers!"

"Blue Oyster Cult!"

"Nah... At this stage we just want to be able to carry on making the music we like."

Now is the best time to invest some serious attention in Chapterhouse because they are a catherine wheel on a loose nail. They oould fly off anywhere. Already the competing stains of Loop and Ride, Sonic Youth and The Byrds can be heard In their dreamy exploderamas. They are prejudios-free (samplers am being investigated at the same time as acoustic guitar tracks planned) they come from nowhere hip, and they're going somewhere special.

"You couldn't say the EP really represents us, but you can't say everything in four songs, and I wouldn't want to. The moment you know exactly what you are, you're dead as a band, really."

If Melvin Bragg phoned up and asked to do a South Bank show on you, what would you say?

"Better make it a five-minute special, Melvyn."

Chapterhouse - one of bands who have no need to brag.
ROGER MORTON

Orignally appeared in NME 18 August 1990. Copyright © NME

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