Box of Birds Review

Martin Krall

Martin kindly sent this review to the Seance mailing list and to me on July 16th 1999.

Most of the songs to be covered on this album, I hadn’t heard before, so I didn’t quite know what to expect. I was surprised what a good choice of songs it was.

The record sounds a bit different than the latest Church-albums. Rather it’s the Church doing something slightly different. It’s a little rockier and a little more playful. Since most of the songs are from the late sixties or the seventies it’s a very timeless record (by rock n´roll standards). After listening to it ten times, my personal favorite is “It’s All Too Much” written by George Harrison. It’s a one-chord-song and the verse is just amazing, with Steve singing in an almost magic way that makes you want to listen to it again as soon as it ends. It’s got a really strange melody and I really think it should be a single. Right now, I think, Steve’s voice is better than ever, and I think we can look forward to a brilliant new album in the year 2000.

Another favorite of mine is “the Porpoise Song”. Covering the Monkees, doesn’t sound like the obvious choice for a band like the Church, but it works extremely well. There’s a lot of things going on in that song, a lot of interesting guitars giving it a very big sound.

“Decadence” is a song by Kevin Ayers about Nico. The Church do a very dreamy, contemplative version that builds up, adding more and more background.

“Hiroshima Mon Amour” is a ghostly version of an Ultravox song. It starts out sounding a bit like an 80´s New Romantics song and after a while it’s like a Church-layer has been added to the rest of the song only to disappear near the end.

Also among my favorites is Cortez the Killer” by Neil Young. It´s probably the song on the album that sounds the most like the Church. This version is amazing with everyone playing their instrument in that way that has made them stand out from the rest of the bands in the world. Plus, off course, Steve’s voice. It’s a good song, too and this 11 minute version is really worth the price of the whole album.

In “All the Young Dudes” (Bowie) Steve stretches his voice to the maximum and then Marty takes over at the chorus. I like this track a lot, with it´s nice descending chord progression. “The Endless Sea” is a desolate, chilling version of the Iggy Pop song.

The album opens with a pulsating version of “the Faith Healer” by Alex Harvey. Other songs include a faithful rendition of Televisions “Friction” as well as “Silver Machine” by Hawkwind which is a lot rawer than what we´ve come to expect from the Church.

I´ve been playing this record day and night since I got it and I think people are going to like it a lot. "Once you open this box of birds, you´ll find it very hard to get them back in there again."

Greetings from Stockholm,
-Martin Krall

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