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 – it’s almost impossible for me to dislike a record that sounds like My Bloody Valentine mixed with The Stone Roses. For each lesser song (the lengthy electronica excursion “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 albums as good as this should not be forgotten.

While Cherry Red should be commended for remastering the album (no more turning up the volume to hear the awesome Eastern-tinged interlude after “There’s Still Life”) and adding bonus tracks, they made a big mistake by placing the bonus tracks at the front-end rather than the end. 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 (though still good) opener in “Mesmerise”. Not a fatal flaw, but still a bad decision for an otherwise great album.