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Pulse magazine reviews the corpus and solo albums as psychedelic works Print E-mail
Friday, 01 January 1988

Pulse magazine, 1988

Pulse magazine
Return To Wonderland
The Second Time Around, Psychedelic Pop Is Song-Based Mind-Altering Music

by Brad Bradberry

The Church
[skipped album list, "Of Skins and Heart" to "Starfish"]
Like no other, the Church (from Australia) is the embodiment of modern psychedelia. From its debut onwards, the group has managed to combine lush atmospheres, by way of chiming, Byrdsian guitars, with classy arrangements and subtle vocal harmonies. Vocalist/lyricist Steve Kilbey is adept at exploring the less-than-obvious; space, time, man and his psyche. An occasional love song or political diatribe may also pop up, but always diguised by Kilbey's hauntingly oblique prose lyrics. Purists will point to The Blurred Crusade as the band's masterpiece. It was amazingly cohesive; balancing compact, hook-filled rockers with longer, heady psychedelia centered around twin guitars (both acoustic and electric). It was this year's Starfish however, that finally gained the band some commercial respect worldwide. That album finds the band honing down its delivery into even more compact modern psychedelia. Though it would have sounded more in place alongside hthe Byrds or Pink Floyd on an AOR playlist from the '60s, the first single ("Under the Milky Way") hit big. On the strength of that, all the Church's albums have been reissued.

Unearthed, Art Attack, Manchild & Myth
These Church solo albums enable the three songwriting members to journey further into their given bents in the psychedelic realm. Kilbey's first solo album is a mixture of stripped-down, Church-like pop, Eno-esque instrumantals and more personal, folky compositions. Willson-Piper brandishes an acoustic 12-string churning out an eclectic assortment of hooky pop, moodly folk-rock, political protest and avant/experimental. Koppes produces the most lavish, finely arranged collection of multi-tracked, melodic psych-pop in a semi-concept format (side one: "The Present", "side two: the past and future").

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