Wednesday, January 25, 2023

The Chameleons: 3 Albums (1983 - 1986)


The Chameleons are an English rock band, formed in Middleton, Greater Manchester in 1981. The

band's classic line-up consisted of lead vocalist and bassist Mark Burgess, guitarists Reg Smithies and Dave Fielding, and drummer John Lever. After establishing themselves with a series of high-profile BBC sessions, the Chameleons signed to Epic and debuted with the tense, moody single "In Shreds," produced by Steve Lillywhite and released in March 1982.

A NME concert review described their music as "guitars slipping and sliding on slopes of echo,

snapping their wires, fussing and fretting over stampeding drums, getting angry and staccato and falling to harmonic whispers".
Concerning the guitar playing, it was said that there was an influence of U2 and Echo & the Bunnymen.

During the Chameleons' early career, the British music press often used terms such as "sonic architects" and "sonic cathedrals" when describing the band, due to their atmospheric sound. Smithies and Fielding

provided shimmering guitar riffs,[3] while Lever and Burgess on drums and bass, respectively, gave the band a solid, rhythmic foundation. The Chameleons emerged as Thatcherism was beginning to have its effect on England's former industrial towns, and their music was imbued with a sense of anxiety and a longing for the security of innocence.

Burgess's impassioned vocal delivery complemented his lyrics, which touched on the alienation created in many British communities by the decline of manufacturing and industry, and the consequent

disruption of social order. Despite the bleak landscapes they were surrounded by, the band were not weighed down by their environment, but attempted to triumph over it. Burgess said in 2013 that, though growing up in a post-industrial, northern town must have some influence on one's music, he felt the Chameleons would have sounded similar regardless of where they originated from.

The quartet was soon released from its contract with Epic, but then signed to Statik and returned in 1983 with the band's first full-length effort, Script of the Bridge. What Does Anything Mean? Basically followed in 1985, and with it came a new reliance on stylish production; following its release, the

Chameleons signed to Geffen and emerged the following year with Strange Times. The dark, complex record proved to be the Chameleons' finale, however, when they split following the sudden death of manager Tony Fletcher; while Burgess and Lever continued on in the Sun & the Moon, Smithies and Fielding later reunited in the Reegs. In 1993, Burgess surfaced with his proper solo album Zima Junction. He and his band the Sons of God toured America the following year.

As the '90s came and went, the four members of the Chameleons UK continued to work on music and see one another on a personal basis. While their own musical projects kept them busy, a reunion was

practically inevitable. The Chameleons reconnected in January 2000 to prep for three May dates in England. The acoustic-based, self-released Strip was available by showtime and for a limited time only. Additional European dates followed throughout the summer, and by fall the Chameleons UK played their first American shows in nearly 15 years. Several live efforts appeared shortly thereafter. Why Call It Anything? (2001) marked the Chameleons' first studio album since 1986's Strange Times. This Never Ending Now appeared two years later.


Script of the Bridge (1983)
What Does Anything Mean? Basically (1985)
Strange Times (1986)
Why Call It Anything (2001)



With two years, numerous radio sessions, and incessant gigging under their belts since their debut single, "In Shreds," the Chameleons came to the studio determined to make a great first album with Script of the Bridge. To say they succeeded would be like saying Shakespeare did pretty well with that

one Hamlet play of his. Script remains a high-water mark of what can generally be called post-punk music, an hour's worth of one amazing song after another, practically a greatest-hits record on its own: the John Lennon tribute "Here Today," "Monkeyland," "Pleasure and Pain," "Paper Tigers," "As High as You Can Go," the breathtaking closer, "View From a Hill." Starting with the passionate fire of "Don't Fall," Script showcases how truly inventive, unique, and distinctly modern rock & roll could exist, instead of relentlessly rehashing the past to little effect.

The Chameleons – Script Of The Bridge
Label: Dead Dead Good – GOOD CD 6
Format: CD, Album, Reissue
Country: UK
Released: 1995
Genre: Rock
Style: New Wave, Post-Punk



01. Don't Fall    4:06
02. Here Today    3:58
03. Monkeyland    5:18
04. Second Skin    6:51
05. Up The Down Escalator    3:58
06. Less Than Human    4:13
07. Pleasure And Pain    5:11
08. Thursday's Child    3:33
09. As High As You Can Go    3:36
10. A Person Isn't Safe Anywhere These Days    5:44
11. Paper Tigers    4:17
12. View From A Hill    6:40

Bass, Vocals – Mark
Cover [Front] – Reg
Drums – John
Guitar – Dave, Reg
Liner Notes – Mark Burgess
Producer – Colin Richardson, The Chameleons
Written-By – Fielding, Lever, Burgess, Smithies

MP3 @ 320 Size: 134 MB
Flac  Size: 377 MB



With the gentle intro to the absolutely wonderful "Perfumed Garden," lyrically one of Burgess' best nostalgic pieces, it rapidly becomes clear exactly which band is doing this. The empathetic fire that infused Burgess' words for songs like "Singing Rule Britannia (While the Walls Close In)," a poetic attack on the Thatcher government, finds itself matched as always by brilliant playing all around. John

Lever's command of the drums continues to impress, and Fielding and Reg Smithies remain guitarists par excellence; the searing, sky-bound solo on "Return of the Roughnecks" alone is a treasure. The sublime combination of the rushing "Looking Inwardly" and the soaring, blasting rip "One Flesh," leading into a relaxed instrumental coda, anchors the second side, while "P.S. Goodbye" provides a lovely, melancholic conclusion to an astounding record. CD copies include the 1981 "In Shreds"/"Nostalgia" single as bonus tracks.

The Chameleons – What Does Anything Mean? Basically
Label: Blue Apple Music – BAMCD03
Format:    CD, Album, Remastered, CD, Bonus, Collectors Edition
Country: Europe
Released: ?   
Genre: Rock
Style: New Wave, Post-Punk



01. Silence, Sea And Sky
02. Perfume Garden
03. Intrigue In Tangiers
04. Return Of The Roughnecks
05. Singing Rule Britannia (While The Walls Close In)
06. On The Beach
07. Looking Inwardly
08. One Flesh
09. Home Is Where The Heart Is
10. P.S. Goodbye
11. In Shreds
12. Nostalgia

MP3 @ 320 Size: 120 MB
Flac  Size: 324 MB

BONUS DISC (Original Album Demos)


01. Intrigue In Tangiers
02. Return Of The Roughnecks
03. Singing Rule Britannia (While The Walls Close In)
04. Perfume Garden
05. On The Beach
06. One Flesh
07. Home Is Where The Heart Is
08. Looking Inwardly
09. P.S. Goodbye

MP3 @ 320 Size: 90 MB
Flac  Size: 250 MB

STRANGE TIMES 1986 (With Limited Edition Free Bonus Album)


If there was a should-have-been year in the Chameleons' history, 1986 would clearly be it, and Strange Times demonstrates that on every track, practically in every note. Signed to a huge label, with production help from the Dave Allen/Mark Saunders team who worked on the Cure's brilliant series of

late-'80s records (here providing a more balanced sound between guitar effects and direct punch than appeared on What), the Chameleons delivered an album that should have been the step to a more above-board existence on radio and beyond. Right from the start, a stunning upward spiral of a guitar riff begins the unnerving character study "Mad Jack," the bandmembers mix their skills, experience, and songwriting ability perfectly and take everything to an even higher level.

The Chameleons UK – Strange Times
Label: Geffen Records – GEFD-24609
Format: CD, Album, Limited Edition, Reissue
Country: US
Released: 1993
Genre: Rock
Style: New Wave, Post-Punk



01. Mad Jack    3:55
02. Caution    7:46
03. Tears (Original Arrangement)    5:05
04. Soul In Isolation    7:28
05. Swamp Thing    5:56
06. Time / The End Of Time    5:41
07. Seriocity    3:00
08. In Answer    4:54
09. Childhood    4:39
10. I'll Remember    3:39

Limited Edition Free Bonus Album
11. Tears (Full Arrangement)    5:06
12. Paradiso    4:35
13. Inside Out    3:33
14. John, I'm Only Dancing (Written-By – Bowie)   2:34
15. Tomorrow Never Knows  (Written-By – Lennon/McCartney)   6:07

Bass, Vocals – Birdy (Mark Burgess)
Drums, Percussion – John Lever
Engineer – Mark Saunders
Guitar – Reg Smithies
Guitar, Strings – Dave Fielding
Producer – Dave M. Allen
Written-By – Fielding, Lever, Burgess, Smithies

MP3 @ 320 Size: 171 MB
Flac  Size: 496 MB



  1. I have all three. Always great quality. A site you can rely on and order "blind", even for music you don't know.

    1. Thank you my friend. Thank you for your support.I really appreciate it.

  2. great band, great albums, i have them all on vinyl...seen them live twice including a gig in Brighton. Always a pleasure! 😎

  3. I haven't any of the three albums. Thanks for all of them. I'll give them a listen.

  4. Always Great stuff here dear Kostas, but A Real Highlight of a post you've done!