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Sounds magazine (London) reviews the band at The Venue Print E-mail
Saturday, 30 October 1982

Gig review from Sounds magazine, printed October 30th 1982.

The Church

Venue, London

For many years, Australia has only boasted one export of note; it comes in cans marked Fosters Lager and it has given your reviewer many hours of pleasure.

Now is the time to reveal, however, that wombat-land has come up with the goods again in the unlikely shape of four paisley-shirted lads from Sydney. They're called the Church, they've made two excellent albums on Carrere and, for this rare visit to London, they managed to fill the awful Venue with a fair crowd of eager disciples. Jesus - vetern hippy festival-goer of note - was there as well.

What more could you want?

Once again, the labels are ridiculous. The Church have acquired a 'psychedelic' tag, which automatically means that any self-respecting reviewer slags them off. But I won't pay any attention to the fashion passion or to the percentage of the audience who came to pose and parade their clothes; the music is the message and this Church music is something new, atmospheric and special.

Their entrance is subtle and effective: Quasi-religious taped music leading into a slow instrumental buildup and the bitterrsweet passion of 'When You Were Mine'. Placing their sound is difficult; the spacious melodies of the Doctors Of Madness, the strange, mannered vocals of Peter Perret's Only Ones, the carefully calculated guitar phrases of... the Eagles?

And like all worthwhile bands, their strength is in the songs. Tonight they gave us new ones ('Sisters', 'Electric Lash') and not-so-new ones ('Is This Where You Live?', 'The Unguarded Moment'), the latter number featuring a massed audience chant of "In an unguarded moment!", surely one of the more unlikely singalong lines of the year.

The audience reaction went from reserved to warm, and from warm to banas; in front of me, a crazed suburban psycho-delic jumped up and down, fists punching the air, yelling "Church! Church!"between songs like some kind of mad cleric. And the Church got three encores - at the end, singer Steve Kilbey was visibly elated.

Once again I make the point that by moving outside the narrow confines of labels and tribal barriers, some fine bands can be found and the Church is one of them.


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