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Review of Starfish Print E-mail
Friday, 01 April 1988
Starfish / Arista

Now that "Under the Milky Way" has garnered some commercial radio airplay
for the Church's latest effort, Starfish, a closer look at the rest of the
album seems in order.

Starfish is the sixth LP from this veteran Australian outfit. Like it's
predecessors, Starfish is guitar-oriented, featuring the overlapping guitar
parts of Marty Willson-Piper and Peter Koppes. Light and airy in some spots,
melancholy and harsh in others, Starfish is a moody collection in lyrical
content as well as musical style.

The shifting tempo of "Destination" is the backdrop for bassist Steve
Kilbey's almost whisperlike vocals. Kilbey chants, talks, and at times sings
over a troubled musical accompaniment. A lone guitar serves as introduction
on "Blood Money" before Richard Ploog's powerful drumming kicks in to help
the song along. Prostitution is the subject, and as one might guess, the
tune is not a happy one.

Betrayal is tackled on "Reptile". While Kilbey compares his lover to a
slithering rattlesnake, Ploog pounds away on the hi-hat, creating a sound
remarkably similar to that of an angry diamondback.

The Church do know how to rock, and prove it as they pick up the pace on
"North, South, East and West". Solid rhythm and supportive backing vocals
propel the song - and side one - to a driving close.

"Spark" is another hard-edged number, with Willson-Piper handling the lead
vocals. Willson-Piper has a gruff voice, and displays an impressive amount
of feeling and urgency. Koppes gets the call for lead duties on "A New
Season" and though not as strong as his bandmates, he does an adequate job.
These occasional vocal departures provide a welcome relief from Kilbey's
nasal - and often grating - intonation.

Overall, Starfish is a good record, though a bit sullen and devoid of
humour. Depending on your mood, it can be either enjoyable or annoying.
Decide for yourself.

Transcribed by Matt
Last Updated ( Sunday, 20 March 2005 )
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