The Chills are arguably the band most indelibly associated with 'The Dunedin Sound' — and one of label Flying Nun's enduring figureheads. With mainstay Martin Phillipps at the helm, the band has seen more than 20 line-up changes while exploring their pared-back guitar-pop sound. Their "series of brilliant singles" (The Guardian) includes the moody 'Pink Frost', 'I Love My Leather Jacket' and 'Heavenly Pop Hit'. In 1987 The Chills played to 60,000 at the Glastonbury Festival; in the early 90s they released two albums through Warner Brothers imprint Slash Records. Silver Bullets, their fifth studio album, dropped in 2015.
This one is the big shiny internationally-produced Chills video, but it’s still in keeping with the band’s low-key indie style. In majestic cliff-top scenery (Ireland stands in for New Zealand) Martin Phillipps looks like he is at the top of the world, and large rocks bounce across the screen like karaoke cues; perfect imagery to match the soaring sound of this classic pop song. Apparently Phillipps was nearly swept away by a rogue wave whilst singing furiously along to a non-existent backing-tape. The rocks were made of polystyrene.
The Chills visited England in 1986. This video mixes a moody rehearsal room performance with reminders of London, including Big Ben, the underground and apartment buildings (British sci fi comic 2000AD can also be spied). Martin Phillipps wears the leather jacket of the song’s title. The jacket was bequeathed to him by Chills bandmate Martyn Bull, who died of leukaemia at the age of only 22. Paired with single 'The Great Escape', the song reached number four early in 1987.
This clip works not for its earth shattering concept, nor its production values or performances (which are largely nonchalant). It looks miserable, nihilistic even. But — through luck or good management — the video for this Chills classic just seems to work, clinging to the melancholy essence of the song like a shrunken homespun. Observant viewers will notice a single bird — not unlike the lonesome outcast portrayed by Martin Phillipps — flying back against the flow.
This was the iconic Dunedin group's first music video. Directed by Peter Janes, the promo for the song roams around an aptly chilly looking attic while the band performs. As soap bubbles float towards the rafters, there’s fog on the breath of singer Martin Phillipps, who lulls the listener to swim into space with him … “come along baby we'll live in our kaleidoscope world”. The early Chills song was from Flying Nun’s seminal Dunedin Double EP. It was later featured as the opening (and title) track on The Chills’ debut LP, a 1986 compilation of early career songs.