The Church - "Of Skins and Heart" CD Review (Second Motion Records) ~ BrooklynRocks: NYC Music Blog

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Church - "Of Skins and Heart" CD Review (Second Motion Records)

The Church - 'Of Skins and Hearts' CD Review (Second Motion Records)To mark the 30th anniversary of the band, The Church started ambitious campaign last fall to reissue their back catalog (via Second Motion Records). All of the reissues come with bonus tracks and new liner notes from Marty Willson-Piper. As most of The Church's discs were previously out of print in the US, these reissues should strike a positive chord with both new and long-time fans and the digital remastering does a wonderful job of bringing out all the dimensions of the band's music.

Starting with the band's first disc, Of Skins and Heart was originally recorded in 1980 and released in 1981 in Australia. A resequenced disc, with some track swapped out for tracks from 1981's "Too Fast for You" double-single, was released in the US the following year. This new remaster contains the nine tracks from the original Australian release along with the bonus tracks "In a Heartbeat" (b-side of "She Never Said") and "Busdriver" (b-side of "The Unguarded Moment").

The early works from The Church are often lumped into to the post-punk genre but Of Skins and Heart has more in common with the bands from Los Angeles' "paisley underground". There is little of the atmospheric neo-psychedelia of the band's later releases as the music on this disc is much closer to the then budding new-wave scene. Steve Kilbey's vocals are clear and engaged and there are some rich vocal harmonies across the disc. All of this is complemented by the ringing Byrdsish sound of Marty Willson-Piper's Rickenbacker.

The Church touch on a variety of sounds from the original new-wave movement on different tracks which range from the aggressive, angular rocker "Fighter Pilot...Korean War" to the cool, Ric Ocasek-like detachment of "Heartbeat". The almost eight-minute hazy "Is This Where You Live" foreshadows the evolution of The Church's later-day neo-psychedelic sound. The first single from the disc was the quirky Gary Newman-ish "She Never Said" but the real gem on this disc is the band's second single "Unguarded Moment".

The Church are playing two local shows next week on their "Future Past Perfect" electric tour. This unprecedented touring event continues their 30th Anniversary celebrations by performing three classic albums in their entirety in one night: Untitled #23 (2009), Priest=Aura (1992), and Starfish (1988).

"Future Past Perfect" Tour Dates
Feb 16 - New York, NY. - Highline Ballroom
Feb 17 - New York, NY. - B.B. King's

Tickets for the show at Highline Ballroom are $39.50 in advance and $45 (DOS). Doors are at 6PM and the show starts at 8PM. Ticket prices and door/show times are the same for the show at B.B. King's the following night.

The Church