5/4/16 – The Chameleons – Tears – 1986

The Chameleons - Tears 7 inch Cover Art - 1986

On the subject of tears, The Chameleons, Middleton’s Post-Punk melodic maestros recorded this track from their third album Strange Times as both an electric and acoustic song. Those arpeggios, EBows, moody washes and strong vocal melody made it one of their most enduring songs from their middle period. How there came to be two versions might be a question that singer/bassist Mark Burgess could answer here.

On the acoustic version, Ebow echoed electric guitar elevates the song from an acoustic ballad into the atmospheric world that The Chameleons like to inhabit. Interestingly, it was the acoustic version that was released as a single. The electric version was available on a limited edition 12 inch EP  included with the album, it also contained two unlikely cover versions – Bowie’s John I’m Only Dancing and The Beatles’ Tomorrow Never Knows. On the electric version the twin guitar attack of Dave Fielding and Reg Smithies takes the song to another place with strident arpeggios atop razor chords, drummer John Lever in from the start producing a more familiar sound from this most underrated of Manchester area bands of the period.

The song also appears on an album that appears to have two titles, Acoustic Sessions and This Never Ending Now. This version delivers a more sophisticated  bringing together of acoustic instruments with mellow drums joining in later to great success.

An album with two versions of the same song, twin guitars, an album paired with a bonus 12 inch, two cover versions and finally an album with two titles. In a parallel universe The Chameleons would have been huge, actually they already are, this universe just has to work twice as hard to catch up.