[sic] Magazine

The Chills – Silver Bullet

Review by Jonathan Levitt
August 2015

I have long pondered taking a trip to New Zealand to get away from the big smoke of Beijing. I imagine making my way to a remote section of the coast in mid winter with massive swells rolling in and the wind blowing shards of rain against my face. Given however that I’m two thousand dollars short of making this a reality, the latest album by The Chills will do me fine!

Over 20 years ago I was dragged to a Chills concert in Boston, I had never really heard the band. Sure CMJ magazine had always raved about them, but then again CMJ also raved about Straightjacket Fits and we all know how that turned out.

In this case I stood watching a band that I lacked the ken to fathom at the time. Sad but life is filled with such moments. So as we stumble through this existence towards the big adios, we have a chance to rectify some of the tiny injustices we incur and find ourselves victim of.

I must admit that I was a bit apprehensive, given my past indifference, to find that The Chills have a new record coming out. This time however I dove right in. The album has a quiet majestic beauty about it.

It makes sense given that main Chill, Martin Phillips hails from Dunedin, that the album carries with it an environmental appeal to protect the oceans. There are several gems on this album, but the most heart-stirring track has to be Underwater Wasteland, the beautiful guitar at the beginning that leads us into the murky depths of humanity and our callousness towards the world we live in. Phillips sings “we find a place beneath the waves where we hide our waste away”. This track reminded me of a recent conversation I had with a friend, I’m always shocked to see headlines such as the worlds biggest shark caught by 16 yr. old angler. I always think to myself if it’s the biggest or rarest why not catch and release or just let it be?

Silver Bullets shows off some really cool guitar work, and is a great pop tune that veers into surf territory. Once again Phillips creates a deceptively hummable pop tune and loads it with one lyrical bomb after another.

Turning in one of the most memorable records of 2015 it’s clear that The Chills have something to get off their chest. Prepare yourself because the gentle nature of the music hides a Trojan horse conveying an uneasy cargo into our subconscious. There is no thing as a Silver Bullet, but if we can start people talking and move them to action then there’s hope for humanity.


The Chills at Fire Records