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The Irish Times review Steve and Marty's show Print E-mail
Sunday, 01 January 1995
The Australian band The Church have gathered quite a number of admirers 
despite remaining relatively obscure during their 14-year career, and 
Whelan's was packed solid last Saturday night for a special acoustic 
performance by the band's main members, Steve Kilbey and Marty 
Willson-Piper.

Armed only with a pair of 12-string guitars, the duo delicately picked 
their way through The Church's excellent back catalogue, plucking some 
perfect moments from their post-punk psychedelic history.
The songs of The Church are dreaming spires of words and music, 
keyboard-laden soundscapes whose textures are almost as important as their 
structures.

In an acoustic setting, the songs sound more like works-in-progress, 
draughtman's sketches for a soon-to-be finished masterpiece. But they 
still possess The Church's unique sense of monumental melancholy, and 
songs like 'Mistress', 'Providence', and 'A Month Of Sundays' resonate 
with detached longing.

Kilbey's vocals undulate with a gentle consistency, creating a calm sea of 
emotions and observations in contrast to Willson-Piper's choppy, distorted 
guitar lines, which catch the listener in more than one unguarded moment. 
With the help of some guitar touches, Willson-Piper puts a storm front on 
Kilbey's delicate surface, and songs like 'Under The Milky Way' and 
'Reptile' are given a new depth as a result.

Since most "unplugged" sessions wouldn't be complete without a cover 
version or two, Kilbey and Willson-Piper oblige with T. Rex's 'Life's A 
Gas' and Neil Young's 'Cortez The Killer'. For those who don't know the 
music of The Church, this was a nicely understated session by two very 
experienced songsmiths; for certified fans of the Antipodean New Wavers, 
this was a long-awaited trip to Valhalla.

-Kevin Courtney
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