NOTE: For those of you who requested the Jean-Paul Sartre Experience's 'Love Songs' and the Able Tasmans' 'Store in a Cool Place,' fear not! The ever-amazing Gozz will be posting them in a timely fashion; expect both albums--and a lot of other goodies--in the coming weeks.
Spread out over these three discs' 83 selections are B-sides, outtakes, rarities, demos, radio sessions, tribute LP covers, a '60s-revival Coke jingle, soundtracks, and most important of all, 31 live versions of songs never released in any form. These unheard, vintage tracks span disc one and half of disc two, tripling the insight on the 1980-1987 Chills. They're loads more aggressive (aided by the sweaty club environments) than the band's supernatural early singles and EP collected by Kaleidoscope World. It all comes as a bit of a barrage, since Martin Phillipps' prolific pen was never more frenzied, spitting out one keyboard-laced, great post-punk pop track after another. His long-standing contention that the band should have released two, possible three classic LPs before 1987's "debut" Brave Words (nine lineup changes, including the death of a key early member, hurt) is finally, fully supported by this evidence. Even some of the later shimmering tracks, such as the ghostly "House With a Hundred Rooms" and onrushing "Oncoming Day," had their start in this harder, edgier epoch, as the original incarnation of the former as 1982's "After They Told Me She Was Gone" and the 1985 Bucketful of Brains flexi version of the latter exhibit. The demos and radio sessions are as much fun, while only the consummate Chills head will have all the later B-sides and compilation tracks. True, this is specifically for fans, as the merely curious are better off starting with a comprehensive best-of like 1994's Flying Nun double-CD Heavenly Pop Hits. There one encounters the more silvery-burnished, better-recorded, more stable Chills of 1987-1992. But even those who buy Secret Box will discover a greater energy than normally associated with the Chills name, who betray more of their '60s garage and psychedelia and '70s original punk roots here than at any time in the future.
[Jack Rabid, The Big Takeover]