Chelsea – Meanwhile Gardens

  • Mark Cartwright posted
  • Reviews


Meanwhile Gradens - Westworld

Chelsea are possibly the most iconic original punk band to be still playing the DIY scene around the UK, up there with the likes of The Lurkers, UK Subs and The Vibrators to name a few.

Not being one of the elite chart success bands of the past, The Stranglers, The Undertones or The Buzzcocks being of that ilk, Chelsea have still kept the down to earth nature that although never gave them the wealth, what it did give them was the a back catalogue of songs that have a wealth of life experience and songs that are truly lived in.

So 45 years on, this album release has to be a pinnacle of sorts, a moment  in time that has been fully deserved and worked for like no other. The fact that ‘Meanwhile Gardens’ comes out of lockdown and a time of social upheaval, is something that sits perfectly in the Chelsea mantra, songs that cover life at the sharp end of politics and social disparity.

So how has 45 years of playing, recording and the fluidity of the band been for Chelsea, well this album seems to sum it all up in its 13 tracks, with the amalgamation of members new and old, Martin Stacey and Bob Jesse from the 1977 line up, James Stevenson from the debut album, Rob Miller from the ’Traitors Gate’ album and Mike Spenser from The Cannibals guests on harmonica, gives it a feel of a school reunion of sorts.  

Gene October has still got it and stands out with his unique vocal, title track ‘Meanwhile Gardens’ kicks it all off, this is possibly the least Chelsea track for me, it just feels too polished and too gentile, that is not how it is, but hopefully you can get why I say this.  ‘The Great Divide’ hits the mark, the classic Chelsea comes through here with all its 1977 pub culture sound and earthy lyrics, which brings us neatly into ‘It’s Friday’ with the sound of pints glasses and a pub full of friends leading us into a song of weekend release, the time of the week, when work is done and the fun begins.  The melodic anthemic style that has always been there, but not overpowering with Chelsea, is still in situ, ‘Shine The Light’ and ‘Why Aren’t We There’ do this perfectly, but what lifts them above other bands that do this as a living, are songs like ‘Ladbroke Grove’ a harmonica filled blues/rock fest of street music, played with heart and soul. Finally we get to ‘Little Venice’ stand out of the album, lyrically raw, musically snappy, but most of all you get the lived in feeling from this song.

A 45th anniversary album, with all 45 years of a life lived wrapped up within.

Out on 28th of May you can pre-order the Digipack CD HERE or the Limited Edition Blue Vinyl HERE

Connect with the band on their Facebook HERE

Or Check out their website HERE