The Chameleons – Where Are You?

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The Chameleons

The Chameleons

Where Are You? - Metropolis Records / Strange Times Entertainment

Manchester, UK’s The Chameleons have been with us for over four decades, best known, at least amongst my social circle, for tracks like Swamp Thing, In Shreds, Nostalgia and The Fan & The Bellows that were regular floor fillers in the sweaty alternative clubs of my youth. Initially prolific with three albums released in their first five years, they then went the way of the so many bands. The wilderness years followed, which saw its former members engaged in outfits that never quite captured the imagination in the way that The Chameleons had. The almost inevitable reformation followed that resulted in reunion shows and a new album in the early 2000’s. I was present at one of the early The Chameleons reunion shows in Manchester, that night Mark Burgess looked like he was going to burst into tears when he walked on stage due to the reception he received from the sold out Academy crowd, and I will always maintain that that show in particular was one of those landmark ‘I was there’ gigs.

The Chameleons

Whilst their path has always been strewn with internal pressures and loss, they have been solidly touring for the last decade, but there has not been any new material from them in over two decades. Now The Chameleons have just released their brand new EP, Where Are You? The long overdue release of new material from a much loved band from the past is always met with equal parts expectation and trepidation. We’ve all experienced joy at the prospect of new material from a much loved band, only for the those expectations to come crashing down as the material fails to match up with the somewhat wild expectations our memories conjure up. For the sake of balance it must be said there are those that have met and even exceeded them as well. So where does the 2024 incarnation of The Chameleons fall on this front?

The Chameleons

Where Are You? kicks off with the title track, initial impressions give a sense that this is heavier, and whilst this is true, as it certainly is, it certainly contains the hallmarks of The Chameleons, my initial scepticism is put to bed as this track in particular marks an impressive return to the studio. Endlessly Falling is a updated rework of a track which seems to have dropped off streaming platforms, possibly why it’s included, but I certainly remember having the original on a compilation that has long since been lost. Again, this recording reflects the current incarnation of The Chameleons and that’s no bad thing and, whilst I’m recalling it from memory, this seems like a more full blooded take. Finally we get Forever, a slower darker track that brings the EP to a close on a delicate and soulful note

The Chameleons

Where Are You? Is not completely looking back, it must be said that this is the sound of the current line up of The Chameleons rather than falling into the trap of trying to recreate their orginal recordings. Despite their longevity it seems that The Chameleons are looking forwards rather than trying to capture that spark and energy of youth, something that will sadly always be illusive no matter how much we wish we could regain that perpetual effervescence. Where Are You? will not disappoint longstanding fans and it brings their legacy bang up to date, and with US, Canadian, UK and EU tours planned for this year, as well Summer festival appearances, there has never been a better time to reacquaint yourself with them.

The Chameleons

The Where Are You? EP is now available through streaming platforms and Bandcamp.