steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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Chin Chin

"Sound of the Westway" CD


Genre: indie rock

Biel, Switzerland

May 2010

Nice to see this poppy, punky DIY nugget from mid-eighties Switzerland get the reissue treatment from indie-pop demigods Slumberland. Originally put out through the band's own Farmer imprint in 1985, Sound of the Westway has apparently since been the object of considerable collector yearning. These fourteen songs, which include two tacked-on bonus bits, provide insight into the record's legendary rep. Here, Chin Chin fire out concise, fiery chunks of C84-esque, punk-edged glory; designed and assembled on the quick, they aren't always perfect, but at their best they make for a devilishly satisfying bop. At the forefront is the interplay between Karin's spirited vocals and the band's trademark barrage of alternately jangly and scorching guitars. Consider the iconic key changes on "Room of Sadness," a mash of Blondie, Gang of Four, and The Clash, whose brilliant chorus alone validates the fervour surrounding this artifact. Elsewhere, the tracks range from choice slabs (cheery "Dark Days," "Jungle of Fear") to moments of redundancy (trite "Stay With Me," triter "Love Song"), but the overall taste left on one's tongue is savory.

N.B. As for the two bonus tracks, we get a stripped- and slowed-down, horns-adorned rendition of "Why Am I So Lonely?" (one of the album's better moments) and a 1.5 minute live medley of "Da Doo Ron Ron" and "My Boy Lollipop" set to a ukulele. Nothing to write home about, but, hey, why not?

Michael Tau

[Vitals: 14 tracks, distributed by the label, released 2010]