Jul 16, 2021
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By Matthew Berlyant

Given Martin Phillipps’ well-documented absence from the music scene for several decades (not including occasional live shows and the 2006 mini-album Stand By), it was an incredibly pleasant surprise when he reconvened a new version of The Chills in the early 2010s and they started gigging and making studio albums again. This is the third of those following 2015’s Silver Bullets and 2018’s Snow Bound. And just like those albums, it’s excellent.

“Monolith,” while not quite “Heavenly Pop Hit” (from 1990’s fantastic and recently reissued Submarine Bells), is the type of catchy opener they’d put on their early records that would immediately draw a listener in. Other highlights include the pandemic-themed “Safe and Sound,” perhaps the gentlest yet catchiest song written about the year that was 2020, and the pre-album single “You’re Immortal.” Elsewhere, “Little Alien” shimmers like Ocean Rain-era Echo and the Bunnymen, the title track soars, and the album closer “Walls Beyond Abandon” continues the Bunnymen motif, reminding slightly of their 1985 single “Bring on the Dancing Horses.” Overall, this is yet another triumph from an artist most thought wouldn’t have the opportunity for a second act like this. (

Author rating: 7.5/10

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