Dave Fielding (The Chameleons): North Star

Dave Fielding: Star of the North

blue apple music

DL | LP | CD

Released July 8, 2022

Northern Star is the debut solo album from original Chameleons guitarist Dave Fielding. Reviews by Stephen Canavan.

As one of the founding members of legendary Manchester band The Chameleons, Dave Fielding’s unique, innovative and atmospheric guitar style not only helped create and shape the Middleton Four’s best songs and albums, but their soul. same.

After the band broke up in 1987, Dave produced the legendary Inspiral Carpets EP Planecrash in 1988 and joined fellow Chameleon Reg Smithies in The Reegs the same year, later joining The Chameleons in 2000. After the acrimonious split from the original line in 2003, Dave got busy, teaming up with his ex-chameleon and great friend, the late John Lever, adding his sublime guitar work to the criminally underrated Red-Sided Garter Snakes’ album Endless Sea. , then, after being personally invited to America by Black Swan Lane vocalist Jack Sobel, adding his emotive guitar sounds to Black Swan Lane’s epic 2019 record Vita Eterna.

Today, after a difficult few years, marked by serious personal loss and health issues, Dave has finally released his first solo album, Northern Star – a collection of 13 atmospheric, uplifting, evocative and sometimes eclectic instrumentals.

The album begins with footsteps… a door opening and a voice saying “Hello…” And from the moment the first track Starlight shimmers and flickers into life, its banks of synths, anthemic strings and guitars soar and swell blissfully alongside each other to glorious effect, it’s clear that what could have been an album bent by grief, loss and sadness is actually going to be an exhilarating celebration. not only of life, but also of the power of love and music to overcome loss, grief and grief.

Betrayal’s kinetic tribal rush, thundering beats amazingly executed by Dave without drums or percussion while “tapping things through a loop pedal”. First whistling, tapping, then tapping the mic leads to the hypnotic bliss that is the title track, Northern Star, a seductive melody etched into the sublime by an eccentric yet evocative combination of pristine dulcimer and hauntingly buzzing digeridoo. Northern Lights features classic acoustic guitar work by Fielding, managing to sound both modern but also like a great lost folk melody of centuries past, while Love Knowledge and Bliss complete this holy trinity of stunning compositions. It begins contemplatively, as guitar, synths and strings slowly build before, after a break, Dave’s acoustic guitar, suddenly high and clear in the mix, brings the song home to an eerily climax. moving, before the pulsating and driving The Stone breathes fresh and fiery momentum in an already electric album.

It’s no surprise that the album’s climax is a tribute to Dave’s beloved friend and fellow Chameleon John Lever, and Brother John is a glorious requiem, a genuinely moving mediation on loss and friendship, with a sublime, echo-laden guitar that suggests death really has no dominance when we can remember the love we have and always will have for those we’ve lost. Indeed, as the almost pastoral Cathedral John and the towering but elegiac Oosaka exemplify, Northern Star is an album informed by loss but not mastered by it, aware of grief but eternally grateful for memory. Indeed, these are compositions that celebrate life and love; not dirges for dark wakes.

Crisp, atmospheric euphoria, which sees Fielding’s emotive guitar, as it so often does on this album, shimmering in and out of the song like a pensive ghost, leads to the exhilarating, exhilarating PTSD and spiky, woozy polar bears. ; songs that may give some more conservative chameleon fans vapors, but simply illustrate, as the final track does, the glorious, soaring elephants, the ever-versatile instincts of artist Dave Fielding and his furious desire to celebrate life uplifting and the healing power of love.

A female voice on the opening track Starlight gently informs the listener: “In here is… the sound of your own heart…”.

With Northern Star, Dave Fielding has captured his sound to thrilling, soulful effect, and shared it with the world.

Northern Star is available on Amazon, Itunes, Spotify and all reputable record stores or directly on Blue Apple Music


This is Stephen Canavan’s first review for Louder Than War.