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Rolling Stone (Australia) review of Gold Afternoon Fix Print E-mail
Friday, 01 June 1990

The June 1990 edition of Australian Rolling Stone gives GAF 3.5 stars.

 

Despite the pretentious mysticism of their lyrics, despite their outmoded pseudo-Sixties dress sense, despite the fact that their singer has little more than a three-note range (SC: Ouch!), despite the fact that they've been playing the same kind of music for over a decade, I can't help liking almost everything the Church do.

Persistence breeds integrity, and this is what saves the Church. With their previous album, 1988's Starfish, they were probably the first Australian band to record in American and take every advantage  of West Coast know-how without compromising their identity. Which is what made Starfish their most musically successful album to date.

Gold Afternoon Fix continues this trend. Production is by studio veteran Waddy Wachtel, who also worked on Starfish, and again he has given the band's sound a depth and subtlety not present in their Australian recordings.

The album beings in a sombre mood, opening with some eerie ambient noises that evolve into "Pharoah" a moody but strong piece reminiscent of early Joy Division. What follows is Metropolis, a piece of bright, up-tempo pop and the Church's catchiest tune since Unguarded Moment. The interplay between Steve Kilbey's vocals and a melodic, jangly guitar riff highlight the fact that the Church are really an inventive guitar band - almost a contradiction in terms these days.

Whilst there are a few dull moments on Gold Afternoon Fix, one can't really complain when the band has given us a generous helping of thirteen tracks. Laughing is another standout track - as catchy as anything by Icehouse, though not so sacharine. On the whole, though, the attractions of Gold Afternoon Fix are not so immediate. The songs tend to win you over by a process of osmosis. With repeated listenings, new sounds emerge from the mix, harmonies and tensions between the guitars of Peter Koppes and Marty Willson-Piper, odd phrases from the often indecipherable lyrics.

In a way, this listening process parallels the success of the Church. Having found a good thing, they have stuck with it, and are now reaping the rewards.

David Messer

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