The Chills are one of New Zealand’s finest exports – born out of the inimitable Flying Nun Records era in the eighties and from a coterie of bands coming out of the small town of Dunedin. And like many antipodean bands that arose at that time, they shone so very brightly but burned out so very quickly before they gained the international commercial success they deserved. Read my brief history of this label and the New Zealand music scene here in the introduction to my review of the 2018 album by Fazerdaze.
The Chills were and always have been the creation of its singer and songwriter, Martin Phillipps – an iconic and enigmatic figure whose ear for a brilliant pop song is legend. At the very brink of their international success after the release of ‘Pink Frost’ and ‘Heavenly Pop Hit’ in 1990, Phillipps imploded spectacularly due to drug addictions and attendant health problems and the band went into more than two decades hiatus, only to recently recover and revive.
Phillipps’s journey from success to failure and back again is covered in a new movie ‘The Chills: The Triumph and Tragedy of Martin Phillipps’ out now through Notable Pictures, in association with NZ Film Commission and Fire Films. You can catch the trailer below:
Having seen The Chills play in Sydney in the late eighties/early nineties and again in 2015, I can attest the band is as spectacular as ever.
The movie is now available to rent here.
And, of course, this is the perfect opportunity to review the most aptly named song in the history of music – a perfect slice of heavenly pop. What a band: