Jack Frost [Arista]

Reviewed by Steve Malins for UK magazine "Vox" April 1991

Jack Frost is a one-off collaboration between The Church's singer and bass-player Steve Kilbey, and ex Go-Between Grant McLennan. Both of the latter have pioneered guitar pop in Australia without reaping the financial rewards of bands like INXS and Midnight Oil. The LP was recorded in a staggering two weeks, all the more impressive when the first listen reveals a record of rare beauty and melody.

Following the nagging bassline and guitar-swirl of 'Every Hour', the album gradually bleeds into a melancholy, nostalgic mood. There's plenty of variety in the songwriting, however. 'Civil War Lament' is sparse, acoustic and a well-told story, while 'Geneva's' twining double bass and piano creates a vaguely jazzy atmosphere. The reflective tone is taken a stage further on 'Trapeze', a narration whose delivery is reminiscent of John Cale, with stark keyboards, strings and acoustic guitar.The first side ends with the more up-beat 'Over You', a superb flashback to The Go-Betweens at their most tuneful.

Keyboards and percussion are pushed to the fore on the sublime 'Threshold' and the dark-haze of 'Number 11'. 'Where I Was' bursts the downbeat mood with the return of McLennan's guitar, and 'Ramble' shifts deliciously from pessimism to optimism at the drop of a chord-change.

The final track,'Everything', features another beautiful string arrangement, building to a sweeping cinematic climax.

[9 out of 10]
Steve Malins

Thanks to Chris van der Wijk for transcribing.
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