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Rolling Stone's 4-star review of Sometime Anywhere Print E-mail
Saturday, 01 January 1994
Published at http://www.rollingstone.com/reviews/album/_/id/167008

When singer and bassist Steve Kilbey quips, "Here is the maven, signing the check/He bought us dinner, so what the fucking heck" on Sometime Anywhere, he might be pondering the issue of commercial viability that dogged the release of Priest=Aura, from 1992, a vague record that fizzled quickly and was followed by the departure of guitarist Peter Koppes, a founding member of the Church.

But if "The Maven" is the Church's catharsis, Sometime Anywhere is the band's redemption. To make this record, Kilbey and guitarist Marty Willson-Piper stretch the boundaries of their vision during improvisational jam sessions, recording much of the material as they went along. The process was fruitful and the two opted to release some overflow as an additional seven-song disc, Somewhere Else.

The Church's spontaneity lends a vibrant lining to the dark beauty of the melodies on Sometime Anywhere, but getting ultimate gratification and catching the record's nuances will require a few listens. As classic Church components, the gorgeousness of Willson-Piper's chords and the seductive drone of Kilbey's voice are easy to grasp, but the songs on Sometime Anywhere are epics, many lasting more than five minutes. There are few pop elements here ? nothing is as instantly palatable as the hooks in such Church favorites as "Metropolis" or "Reptile," nothing as direct as "Under the Milky Way."

Sometime Anywhere instead ventures down a dimly lit path, offering few clues to its destination and many surprises along the way. "Loveblind" features Eastern rhythms bobbing gently behind wind-swept guitars and envelops a self-examining parable played out as a detective story: "I pieced together clue by clue just what a faceless man would do.... In the mirror in my space was a man without a face." "Angelica" jets to the stars with shuddering riffs, fiery violins and defiant sing speak from Kilbey: "The civilized gentleman isn't gonna be nice to you tonight."

Sometime Anywhere is ambitious in scope, but that ambition is not always realized. "Business Woman," a stiff satire, is a ridiculous take on extramarital affairs ("We should never have let [the label] hear it," Kilbey said in a recent interview) with the canned chorus, "Look at that businesswoman/She's not that much older than you." On "Lullaby," staid vocals mutter what amounts to a trite Christmas sermon: "We share and bear the message of your newborn son/We follow paths of fallen stars, in and out of mangers, other bars."

Yet when the record's expansiveness unfolds as lush panoramas like "Two Places at Once," the first single and the first-ever vocal duet between Kilbey and Willson-Piper, it gently bares the souls of its songwriters. When they echo each other with "I've been waiting, seems like an eternity/We were so blind," you know they've reached their epiphany. (RS 693)

KIM AHEARN

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