steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Chapter 29

"Playing in the Rooms of Twilight" CDR

Series Two

Genre: lo-fi, indie pop

October 2009

Chapter 29 formed in the early eighties, its members in hovering around 21 and more committed to having fun than making serious music. Yet as they got things together, they produced two albums and performed several live shows before disbanding (after which one of its members, Phil Andrews, would go onto play in C-86 band The Morrisons). Playing in the Rooms of Twilight compiles the album of the same name, as well as other demos and live recordings, making for one of the latest examples of obscuro eighties fetishism.

These nineteen songs, recorded between 1982 and 1983, range wildly in terms of quality and content, with obvious influence culled from UK freakbeat (especially in the organs), mystical psychedelia ("Before," "Captured in a Jar"), and eighties British pop ("Benjamin's Dream"). The entire record is a pretty casual affair, meaning it is considerably inconsistent and at times outright disastrous (dismal "The Isolate," flimsy "Mad Men Laughed," and the list goes on...). Apparently, when the band formed, several of the members barely knew how to play their instruments - let alone write a song - and the ensuing lack of polish is often evident on Rooms of Twilight. Only occasionally do the songs really shine, although when they do the listener is treated to that hearty feeling of uncovering an ancient nugget of lo-fi goodness - consider album-best "Captured in a Jar," whose sullen docility makes for a curiously pretty bit of psych-folk, though the composition lacks tightness, and the amateurish vocals aren't great. As an archaeological venture, Playing in the Rooms of Twilight has its fair share of mystique, but ultimately this compilation reminds the listener that some music doesn't warrant reissuing.

Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 19 tracks, ltd to 300 copies, distributed by the label, released 2009]