Reason #292: What Does Anything Mean? Basically

chameleons…and once again another cover proves that the 1980’s was the golden decade of album art!

Don’t ask me to add “UK” to the end of their name, ’cause I won’t. I did it with The Beat for years (adding “English”, for those of you who don’t know), and I feel awful about it.Ignorant, even. So just don’t.

Do, however, buy this album immediately. The Chameleons were one of the great, forgotten bands of the post-punk era, kind of the Big Star of their genre, and will be looked upon as geniuses for decades to come, I assure you. What Does Anything Mean? Basically is one of the reasons why. This album is #2 out of three successive albums that are just about perfect encapsulations of what I mean when I say the ’80’s didn’t suck. Aside from the amazing cover art, the Chameleons here pare down the jaggedness of their debut and get to work on writing some great, anthemic rock numbers. Rich Kamerman, if you’re reading this and haven’t given these guys a good listen (which I doubt…I’m pretty sure you’re a robot and have every album ever released somewhere in that CPU you call a brain) please do. I think you’ll dig ’em. For those of you who know these guys you already know how under appreciated they are, and this album in particular. The third album (Strange Times), brilliant as it is, isn’t as effective as this one.

This album is full of atmosphere; the cavernous drums courtesy John Lever (the best drummer of the ’80’s, in my opinion), the excellent guitar work by Dave Fielding and of course the unique vocals and obscure lyrics of Mark Burgess all add to the feeling of otherworldliness. It’s a foolish task to name songs on an album as uniformly excellent as this one, so I won’t. All you have to know is that it’s brilliant, you need to own it, and it is still inspiring loads of musicians today, chief among them The Horrors.