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The Church - Of Skins And Heart CD (album) cover

OF SKINS AND HEART

The Church

 

Prog Related

3.03 | 15 ratings

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maani
Special Collaborator
Founding Moderator
3 stars This will be the first in a series of chronological reviews of The Church's oeuvre that will give a complete history of the band's progression. / The Church did not start out as "progressive." In fact, it took them almost a decade to establish their progressive voice. Nor is The Church an "important" prog band. However, they have now been a great one for over a decade. True, the band sometimes wears its influences (Floyd, Moody Blues, U2 et al) on its sleeve. However, by mid-point in their career, they had blended those influences into a sound unique to them, one that is creative, captivating and srtangely compelling. / The Church emerged in the twilight between post-"punk" and pre-"new wave," along with (among others) U2 and The Pretenders, all three of whom progressed similarly (though in different subgenres). "of skins and heart" finds the band influenced primarily by The Police and mid-period Bowie. The most noticeable features of the music are the jangly "Byrds"-like guitars and the solid, straight-ahead rock backbeats, supported by Kilbey's bass. Also immediately evident is that Kilbey is not so much a "singer" as an "expresser of lyrics." Indeed, Kilbey would increasingly become one of rock's great poets. / The first song that "defined" the band's early sound is "Unguarded Moment." Although a fairly basic rock song, there are hints that this was not your ordinary rock group. "Is This Where You Live" provides the first inklings of "progressive sensibilities." The first part is a mildly haunting amalgam of quasi-Floydian elements (and also includes a short Fripp-ish solo), which builds subtly to a straight-ahead rock ending. "Don't Open The Door To Strangers" has another quasi-Floydian structure, reminiscent of parts of "The Wall" (which was less than two years old at the time). "Sisters" is the other nice track here, the guitar part presaging (by almost three years) that of The Pretenders' "2000 Miles." / Although there is nothing particularly remarkable about the album as a whole, it is nevertheless a decent-to-good (depending on your taste) collection of mostly straight-ahead rock songs, with a smattering of proto-progressive sensibilities.
maani | 3/5 |

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