A year and a half ago, Fire Records brought us the unexpected bonus of a high-quality compilation of BBC Sessions from the Chills, New Zealand’s most idiosyncratic indie-pop band. My ears pricked up when a sparkling single, “Molten Gold”, emerged in 2013, but nothing prepared me for this week’s announcement of “Silver Bullets,” the Chills’ first full-length studio album in nearly two decades.
Because should anyone need to be convinced about the continuing viability of guitar-rock, Martin Phillips is the man to do that. Nothing else on indie-rock radio equals the originality of “Pink Frost” in the 30-odd years that have passed since the world first heard it. Every home should have a copy of the “Kaleidoscope World” compilation, and for a brief period it looked as if every home might have a copy of 1990’s “Submarine Bells,” the Chills’ first album on a major (step forward Slash Records) and a college radio standout.
“America Says Hello” is sparkling pop music of craft, skill and great simplicity, with a melodic clarity of vision that heads straight for the heart. “Silver Bullets” will be out Oct. 2.
||| Stream: “America Says Hello”