The Chameleons Vox: 35th Anniversary of Script of the Bridge
The Chameleons, a four-piece hailing from the suburb of Middleton, just four-and-a-half miles outside the city of Manchester. Having formed in 1981, the band released their first 45 'In Shreds' on CBS Records the following year only to find themselves dropped after one single over alleged artistic differences between themselves and the label. While not exactly seen as the end of the world at the time - independent labels had been on the rise since the dawning of punk - for a band who'd already become firm favourites with Radio One DJ John Peel, there wasn't exactly a shortage of interest in signing them up.
Its on the aforementioned debut "Script of the Bridge" that The Chameleons really left their mark. Not just on a decade that was blessed with opportunist mavericks rallying against the impending rise of Thatcherism and catastrophic recession her reign bestowed upon the nation, but also in years to come, with many artists such as The National, Interpol, Slowdive, and Fews citing them as an influence on their own careers. Indeed, it's debatable whether Turn On The Bright Lights or Boxerwould have existed in their present forms without this record. Released in August 1983, not only was Script Of The Bridge ahead of its time back then, it has also managed to remain fresh and relevant ever since.
What's most distinguishable about The Chameleons is undoubtedly the dual layered guitar sound exerted so masterfully. As main songwriter, singer, and bassist Mark Burgess said that goth and what became the archetypal post-punk sound didn't exist at the time. Indeed its questionable that without The Chameleons it ever would have done. They were unique in every conceivable way.
Andrew Welsh of Daily Record commented that the album is "characterised by subtly psychedelic Cure-like guitars and militaristic drum patterns reminiscent of Joy Division".
In his retrospective review, Ned Raggett of AllMusic praised the album, writing, "Script remains a high-water mark of what can generally be called post-punk music; an hour's worth of one amazing song after another", calling it "practically a greatest-hits record on its own". Chris Jenkins, in the book The Rough Guide to Rock, called the album "such an impressive record that The Chameleons would struggle to emulate it".Script of the Bridge has been well received by critics.
Andrew Welsh of Daily Record wrote that "echoes of the Chameleons' distinctive sound can still be heard today in bands as diverse as the Killers (but without the penchant for angst), Editors and even Pigeon Detectives.