Kaleidoscope World is not just the starting point for The Chills, but an insight into the world of New Zealand guitar-pop and the ‘Dunedin Sound' – an influence which carries on to indie-pop bands around the world today. Originally released in 1986, the compilation captures the best of the magical early period recordings of The Chills and simply oozes excitement and possibility.
Now re-issued again on a deluxe 2LP-set, featuring six bonus, b-sides, demos and live tracks plus an expanded gatefold cover with photos, posters and liner notes from journalist Martin Aston. The world's first look at The Chills came via the 1982 Dunedin Double compilation – featuring four acts (The Chills, The Verlaines, Sneaky Feelings and The Stones) all hailed from the New Zealand city in the deep south.
Recorded on a portable 4 track it was distinctly lo-fi and in tune with the do it yourself ethic at the heart of the burgeoning Flying Nun label. It was sound in part born out of geography and location, with the spaciousness and remoteness of New Zealand itself matched with the glowing songs of chief Chill - Martin Phillipps - a music-savant that somehow wrangles psychedelic pop and folk, Syd Barrett and Brian Wilson, all with Phillipps' innate ability to sound both joyous and sad within a moment.
The Chills were one of the early Flying Nun bands to make their way overseas in the 80s and the first UK voyage resulted in UK indie Creation Records also picking up the release of Kaleidoscope World over there. What was initially 8 songs (later expanded to 18 and now 24) have a unique bittersweet innocence from the title track through to the happy-sad aura of "Frantic Drift" and "Rolling Moon."
And amongst all the fragile melodies mixed with a childlike wonder, is "Pink Frost" – for many The Chills' most beloved track – an eerie, haunting track, the band's first ‘hit', the Flying Nun equivalent of "Love Will Tear Us Apart." Surrounded by the aura of death following a dream Phillipps' had, it also touches on a sense of desolation and yearning for a connection to the wider world and is no better example of the marvelous song writing ability of this band from the world's southernmost point.