Song of the Day: The Chills “Pink Frost”
Need to beat the summer heat? “Pink Frost” is one of Kiwi indie legend The Chills‘ absolute best singles and its chilly atmosphere may help to carry you, mentally at least, to colder environs. The song features a breezy little figure and great active drums. Martin Phillipps forlorn delivery of the rather cryptic lyrics with their layered meaning help give the song an otherworldly experience. despite the darkness of some of the lyrical themes, the underlying lo-fi pop sensibility of the whole song keep it from cascading too far into the darkness. “Pink Frost” is a song with perfectly controlled dynamics that sits on that knife edge between joy and despair.
The Chills, along with the equally great, The Clean, were the bands that helped anchor the budding New Zealand indie rock scene of the early 80s. Both bands not only shared a record label: the storied and well-respected Flying Nun, but also shared a similar lo-fi sensibility and interest in the type of noise freak-outs that The Velvet Underground and other seminal American underground acts of the 60s used to specialize in. Though the New Zealand scene was small, it managed to have a massive impact on the American underground scene of the same period. The DIY ethos borrowed from punk were filtered through a renewed interest in melody and psychedelic rock. The outcome was almost something akin to had the band Love made a series of home recordings. There is something really wonderful about the music that came out of the Kiwi indie scene during this period. One of those great moments in time that spawned music that was both of its time and utterly timeless.
As with many of the Kiwi bands of the time, line-ups were rarely stable. In The Chills‘ case, singer/guitarist Martin Phillipps remained the only permanent member of the group throughout its many iterations, formations and reformations. The group continue to exist in one-form or another.