Wednesday, March 3, 2010

When You've Still Got It...


Few bands have stayed together for so long and remained as consistently worthwhile and enjoyable as The Church. From their jangle-rock beginnings to their psychedelic pop (commercial) heyday to the sweeping landscapes and textures they've explored for the past twenty years, they have never put out a bad album, from 1981's Of Skins and Heart to 2009's Untitled #23, and each release has at least one or two (or ten) tracks that could easily be about the best song the band has ever written. In the middle of it all is vocalist/bassist Steve Kilbey, who in the early days penned nearly every song and even now is the focal force of their more free form oriented material, his mellow baritone croon cutting through even the most intricate of layered guitar flutterings and thundering tom barrages as clearly and smoothly as a knife passing through water, giving extra weight to the tone of each song he sings with a rich almost prophetic clarity. And if 23 albums plus a handful of collected b-sides, outtakes and rarities with The Church weren't enough, he's released seven solo albums and worked on close to a dozen (or more) collaborative efforts, including my favorite Jack Frost with the late Go-Betweens singer/guitarist Grant McLennan. Everything Steve Kilbey has put his hand and voice to over the past 30 years is worth checking out, from atmospheric noodlings to pure pop perfection, he is a veritable Renaissance Man of sensational underground music (plus he writes poetry, short stories and Lord knows what else).

The Church - Reptile (1988)

The Church - Numbers (2002)

Steve Kilbey - Other Time (1986)

Steve Kilbey - Wolfe (2008)

...and now, with The Church...

No comments: