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Chameleon - 1981 Chameleon

ARTIST: Chameleon
ALBUM: Chameleon
LABEL: Platinum
YEAR: 1981


LINEUP: Charlie Adams - percussion, vocals * Mark Anthony - vocals, keyboards * Johnny Donaldson - guitars * Dugan McNeill - vocals, bass

TRACK LISTING: 01 Stranded * 02 All Night * 03 This And That * 04 Forever * 05 I'm In Love With You * 06 Let's Dance * 07 Fallin' In And Out Of Love * 08 Darcy Don't * 09 Oh Love * 10 Holdin' On * 11 Tonite, Tonite

There is a school of thought amongst some members of the AOR fraternity that this band are undeserving of their status as minor AOR legends. However, judging by the fact that their albums have been snapped up by eager collectors more quickly than condoms in a brothel, then this is obviously the opinion of a tiny minority. As AOR debutants, I would consider the appropriate phrase to enter on Chameleon's proverbial school report as being 'Shows exceptional promise'.

The Songs
Chameleon immediately impress with their very first track 'Stranded'. This displays all the hallmarks of classic AOR we all know and love. Namely a memorable keyboard refrain, strident guitar riff, and an unforgettable chorus. The Chameleon approach here is slightly quirky and off the wall, Most importantly though they do not fall into the trap of resorting to the usual AOR cliches peddled by some of their (lesser) peers. The best example of their quirkiness is highlighted on the song 'This and that' which opens to the strains of children's laughter and the line 'Nice little kitty cat, can I pet the puppy dog? NO' - what's that all about? Are they reliving their second childhood and if so, what sort of childhood was it? Then again the lyrics on the dark and moody 'Darcy Don't' also border on the eccentric and slightly macabre. Especially the lines 'You could hang yourself, I bet she'd laugh' and 'If you slit your wrist, she'll never bat an eye'. Darcy certainly doesn't sound like a young lady I'd want to become familiar with! There are also traces of Supertramp in the vocal and keyboard department on 'I'm In Love With You' but Johnny Donaldson's guitar ensures that they stay firmly planted in the rock arena. Side two opener 'Let's Dance' (not the turgid Bowie track) sounds like The Cars albeit in their rockier moments, then it's back to the more strident AOR of 'Fallin' In And Out Of Love', the haunting 'Holding On' and obligatory ballad 'Oh Love'.

In Summary
Overall then, a solid debut, displaying a variety of influences, but paving the way for the glories to come on their follow up 'Technocolour'.

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#1 | super80boy on May 27 2013 00:42:40
I really like that they have lots of creativity in the song arrangements on this album. This is not your common middle of the road AOR structurer that's for sure. There's peculiar lyrics, unusual arrangements and imagination abound. My vinyl copy came with a huge poster with a montage of band member pictures. A great debut.

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