AND THEN THERE WERE TWO
By Mike Mettler
With the departure of guitarist Peter Koppes, the ethereal sonic scriptures set forth on the Church's ninth Arista album, Sometime Anywhere, are solely the sermons of guitarist Marty Willson-Piper and bassist Steve Kilbey. "We went into the studio without a band and recorded direct to tape," Marty says cheerfully, "which pleasantly confirmed my belief that we could do great things as a duo."
The atmospheric Anywhere continues the Church's tradition of mining lush deposits of open- chord jangle, though the pair branched out with the techno- lite touches on "Angelica" and the funky trills of "Authority." The blending of materials resulted in some fresh sounds: Willson-Piper enjoyed mixing the timbres of his '70s Strat with the chiming textures of his beloved 6- and 12- string Rickenbackers. For the Neil Young- influenced "The Maven," he played healthy rhythms on a '91 Les Paul Custom, taking the lead on a '68 Fender Jazzmaster.
Willson-Piper, a Liverpool, England, native who migrated to Australia in the late '70s before joining the Church, plays through Vox AC30 amplifiers, stopping first at an Ibanez UE-405 multi- effects pedal for analog delay and stereo chorus. "I've discovered a new effect recently - my foot," he grins. "I'm getting some amazingly expressive sounds with a Boss FV-100 volume pedal."
Distinguished by his ability to generate painterly, psychedelic soundscapes from simple gear, Willson-Piper nevertheless places his faith in the artist, not the tools. "The old cliche goes that a poor workman blames his tools, but I'm at the point where the tools don't really matter much," the Churchman relates. "It's the ideas that take priority. As long as I can get the ideas across, I could get a good tune out of a chair and a desk.