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The Chimes (Scotland): Chimes [Deluxe Edition]

Album Notes

The Chimes' sole album is proof that commercial dance pop can have artistic viability as well as chart potential. A mixture of hip influences (Soul II Soul's Jazzie B and Nellee Hooper produced two tracks, including the meaty acid house single "1-2-3") and the polish of soul and pop veterans (Pete Wingfield plays piano on most of the album, and other guests range from the Hooters' Eric Bazilian to '70s studio pro Ralph Schuckett), The Chimes is a completely solid and credible album with thankfully little of the overdone slickness and shrieking pseudo-soul of pretenders like Mariah Carey or Whitney Houston. (In fact, it's possible that the low-key dignity of this album is why it wasn't a bigger chart hit, though it received rave reviews both in the US and the trio's native Great Britain.) Pauline Henry's expressive but controlled voice is powerful without resorting to the tiresome trills and oversinging of so many of her R&B contemporaries, and multi-instrumentalist producers James Locke and Michael Peden combine pop, dance and soul influences into a seamless, sleekly danceable blend. The album's biggest hit, a gospel-tinged remake of U2's "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For," finds new levels of power in that over-played song, and its inclusion make perfect thematic and musical sense instead of being the desperate plea for chart attention it might have been in less capable hands. ~ Stewart Mason



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