With the recent sad death of former member of The Models, James Freud, I've been looking back at some of the music I loved when I was a young man. Of course, The Models were a big favourite (as I've already said in our review here) but right up there was bands like INXS, who we'll be reviewing later this week, and The Church.
Of all the bands I loved back then, though, it was The Church who influenced me the most. I distinctly remember being blown away by The Unguarded Moment as a very impressionable teenager. It is still one of my favourite songs. Steve Kilbey and co not only sounded like a band I wanted to be a part of but looked like I wanted to look too, kohl-eyed and wearing stove pipe jeans, paisley shirts and winkle-picker boots. I dressed that way for quite a number of years. But grunge and all it encompassed, put paid to that look.
Then there is the elegantly simple beauty of Under The Milky Way, a song I learnt as soon as I heard it and have played many times, both for my pleasure and for a paying audience. It is the kind of track songwriters wish they could write, one that will remain a timeless treasure.
But this definitive collection is much more than the sum of these two songs. It stretches the length of their career, from first album, Of Skins And Heart, released in 1981, to Uninvited, In The Clouds, released in 2006. Listening to these tracks, I can't help but feel the same sense of wanting to be a part of it as I did when I first heard tracks like Almost With You, When You Were Mine and Tantalized. I will admit that I don't carry the same torch for them as I did back then. I think it burnt out after their 1990 release, Gold Afternoon Fix, which contained the wonderful Metropolis. But like a long lost love, they've never been far from my thoughts. And this collection only serves to remind me of those beautiful lost days long ago.
VERDICT: TURN IT UP
I've never really been a Church fan - not that I didn't like the music, just that I didn't go out of my way to buy their albums. Which is kind of weird, because I've always been the sort of person who purchases music put out by friends and aquaintances - you know, a kind of gesture of solidarity. It's led to more than one dud in the collection!
And yes, I do have a vague personal connection to the Church. You see, the final two years of high school in Canberra are separate from the first four, and is consolidated in what are called Colleges. I went to a college that most of my high school didn't go to. But I spent a fair amount of time socialising with them still, and that brought me into contact with a guy called Russell, who is the brother of Steve, who is the lead singer of the Church. OK? I've also just found out thanks to Wikipedia that a guy who went out with my best friend in high school also played keyboards on two of their albums, so that's another link.
Anyway, I hadn't listened to the double CD before today, and there are a lot of singles on it that just passed me by. I love their breakthrough hit, Unguarded Moment, and remember going to see them just after that came out. Almost With You, Tantalized, Under the Milky Way and Metropolis are all familiar - but the rest are drawing a blank. Not a bad blank, some sound terriffic - but not as good.
VERDICT: TURN IT DOWN
VERDICT: TURN IT DOWN
For more information: http://www.thechurchband.com/