Chapterhouse – Blood Music (Cherry Red Records)

Blood Music, Chapterhouse’s 1993 sophomore album, was an experiment in merging Madchester dance beats and shoegaze guitars that achieved minor successes, but mostly missed the mark with the larger record-buying public. However, the truth is that, like peanut butter and chocolate, these two great tastes taste great together. For each lesser song (“Deli” and “We Are The Beautiful” are dated), there’s songs like “There’s Still Life,” “Love Forever,” and the Ride-esque “Greater Power, that are among the best of shoegaze. Brit-pop would soon grab the country’s attention, killing off Chapterhouse, and ultimately shoegaze, but Blood Music should not be forgotten.

While Cherry Red should be commended for remastering the album (no more turning up the volume to hear the Eastern-tinged interlude after “There’s Still Life”) and adding bonus tracks, placing the bonus tracks at the front-end rather than the end is a mistake. People expect albums they know to start a certain way (picture hearing something other than “Search and Destroy” at the start of Raw Power), and this is no exception. You expect the ecstasy-like electronica rush of “Don’t Look Now,” but you get an ultra-mellow opener in “Mesmerise.” Not a fatal flaw, but still a bad decision.