CHELSEA - Mission Impossible

Chelsea - Mission Impossible

14 songs
46:35 minutes
***** ***


When it comes to Chelsea, most people probably think of the famous London football club, but thereís also a British punk band thatís been founded back in 1976 and therefore can be counted among the pioneers of the punk scene. Considering that Generation X members Billy Idol (he of a later solo career) and Tony James (with a brief comeback with Sigue Sigue Sputnik in the Eighties) were among Chelseaís founding members, the cult status seems to become even more important. The only remaining founding member left is Gene October who was once featured on the Learning English CD by Die Toten Hosen where they collaboratively recorded Right To Work. The other four musicians are partly also scene veterans and donít look that young anymore either.

Between 1979 and 1994, Chelsea released seven albums, before things turned quiet for two decades. There was an interstitial album titled Faster, Cheaper And Better Looking in 2005, but their last comeback only started in 2015 with Saturday Night Sunday Morning, followed this year by their tenth longplayer Mission Impossible, which is by the way totally unrelated to the same titled film.

The album cover doesnít look very inviting, but one shouldnít judge a book Ė or a record Ė by its cover. From a musical perspective, Chelsea still sound flawless. Apart from the really powerful production, one could still believe that these songs had been recorded in the late Seventies. Throughout three quarters of an hour, youíll get to listen to catchy and melodic punk that reminded me at times of the Buzzcocks or even the Undertones, like for instance I Canít Take This which is one of the standout moments on the album. The highlight comes on track number four with Fashion, a perfect example of how to craft wonderful, unforgettable melodies. The songs are generally three minutes long, never very complex and aimed definitely at nostalgic punk fans. And yet only two thirds of the songs can be labelled pure punk. As some of the musicians were also active with artists of other genres (Kim Wilde, The Alarm, Gene Loves Jezebel,...), those influences must have left their impression on the music. Suit In The Spotlight comes with dub elements, and the concluding two tracks Something In The Air and Sun Stop Shining mirror the wave pasts of some of the musicians. The biggest surprise is Sands Of Time, a ballad that could work really well for Christmas.

Some of the members of Chelsea are close to retirement age, but they donít sound so old as if they should stop playing now. Mission Impossible is an entertaining affair that on the one hand offers just what you would expect, but on the other hand also comes with some surprises. Itís a solid late work into which you should invest some of your time.

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