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The Church Of Skins And Heart [Aka: The Church] album cover
3.01 | 20 ratings | 4 reviews | 5% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1981

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. For A Moment We're Strangers (3:52)
2. Chrome Injury (4:02)
3. The Unguarded Moment (4:17)
4. Memories In Future Tense (4:44)
5. Bel-Air (3:56)
6. Is This Where You Live (7:38)
7. She Never Said (3:16)
8. Fighter Pilot...Korean War (4:23)
9. Don't Open The Door To Strangers (3:24)

Total time 39:32

Bonus tracks on 1988 remaster:
10. Too Fast For You (3:28)
11. Tear It All Away (4:10)
12. Sisters (4:05)

Bonus tracks on 2010 remaster:
10. In a Heartbeat (3:50)
11. Busdriver (4:03)

Line-up / Musicians

- Steve Kilbey / vocals, bass, keyboards
- Peter Koppes / lead & slide guitars, vocals
- Marty Willson-Piper / electric 6- & 12-string guitars, acoustic guitars, vocals
- Nick Ward / drums, percussion, vocals

- Richard Ploog / drums & vocals (10-12)

Releases information

Artwork: Michelle Parker

LP Parlophone ‎- PCSO-7583 (1981, Australia)
LP Capitol Records ‎- ST-12193 (1982, US) Re-titled "The Church", new cover; swapped tracks #2,7,8 by the three later also included as bonuses on 1988 CD (see list above)

CD Arista ‎- ARCD-8563 (1988, US) Remastered by Bill Inglot, Ken Perry with 3 bonus tracks
CD EMI ‎- 5099991817129 (2010, Australia) Remastered by Don Bartley with 2 bonus tracks

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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THE CHURCH Of Skins And Heart [Aka: The Church] ratings distribution

(20 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(5%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(20%)
Good, but non-essential (55%)
Collectors/fans only (15%)
Poor. Only for completionists (5%)

THE CHURCH Of Skins And Heart [Aka: The Church] reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by maani
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.
Review by andrea
2 stars In the eighties The Church were frequently defined "dark" and compared to The Cure of Robert Smith. Their first album, "Of Skins And Heart", is just a collection of simple pop-rock songs built up around some nice guitar riffs that sometimes remind of The Cure, U2, Alarm, Midnight Oil, Split Enz. I do not dislike this album but for me it's hard to find here any trace of prog. "In the empty place the soul stripped bare / Of skins and heart and I come apart / In your icy hands / I forget my role / As I stare into your soul.". The voice of Steve Kilby, the guitars: the first track "For A Moment We're Strangers" reminds me a little bit of The Cure's "Boys Don't Cry". The guitar at the beginning of "The Unguarded Moment" reminds me of The Beatles' "Ticket To Ride". The other tracks are "exquisite guitar pop" (as stated in the booklet) with every now and then some vague traces of Byrds. ".See the angry sea, it's a sign for me / There's another shore, what we waiting for / Feel the wind is sad, all the things I had / Blown away and falling around me.". The last track "Don't Open The Door To Strangers" with his dark mood is my favourite one.

In the whole not a bad album, but if you are looking for some progressive rock stuff it's better look for something else.

Review by Australian
3 stars If you're not looking for anything really in depth, or musically challenging to listen to then I'd recommend "Of Skins and Heart", The first album by this dynamic Australian progressive related rock band. It is obvious after one listen that The Church has taken influence from David Bowie, this is not only evident by the music it's self, but also the song titles are in a very David Bowie style. Some of the band's other influences are U2, The Beatles, Pink Floyd and the music scene around them, yes, The Church were quite a 80's sounding band most of the time for their first few albums but they gradually lost this trait and lost their aspirations for best-selling hits.

Never the less The Church had the charts in mind when they created "Of Skins and Heart", and they didn't fail as their single of "The Unguarded Moment" shot to number 1 on the Australian singles chart and is regarded by many music critics as being of the best singles by an Australian band during the 80's. Although carrying a 80's sound, The Church's music is subtly different to that of other 80's pop bands. The Church's music even at this early point of their career their music had a progressive touch to it brought upon by textured atmospheres created by guitars and keyboards.

This style of atmosphere is most visible in "Is This Where You Live", it also incorporates some psychedelic influences, healthy song length and a reasonable guitar solo which makes it the best song on the album as far as I'm concerned. "Of Skins and Heart" is the type of album that grows on you gradually, after a first listen you may, like me render in complete and utter garbage, then one day on a strange impulse you'll listen to it and after several listens will continue to grow on you. While not as in depth or as impressive as their later pop based albums like 'Sťance' or 'Starfish,' "Of Skins and Heart" is really worth getting if you're wondering what to purchase. Everything on "Of Skins and Heart" is generally at an okay three star level, with some songs being a little better or worse.

1.For a Moment We're Strangers (3/5) 2.Chrome Injury (3/5) 3.The Unguarded Moment (3/5) 4.Memories in Future Tense (2.5/5) 5.Bel-Air (3/5) 6.Is This Where You Live (3.5/5) 7.She Never Said (2.5/5) 8.Fighter Pilot (3/5) 9.Don't Open the Door to Strangers (3/5) Total = 26.5 divided by 9 (number of Songs) = 2.94444 = 3 stars Good, but non-essential

So, as I said earlier a good, enjoyable listen which overall is user-friendly to all people who aren't familiar with progressive rock. I'd recommend "Of Skins and Heart" to anyone who wants to start exploring a unique band whose career is an journey to follow. This is one great thing about The Church, exploring their music is like an adventure, trust me, start the voyage.

Review by ZowieZiggy
4 stars This debut album from "The Church" is quite New Wave oriented and far to dislike my taste. Actually, at the time of release I was quite in this musical movement and such an album was just quite exciting and above all: funny and attractive (Chrome Injury).

The music being proposed here can be compared to the very debut of "XTC" for instance. Fine vocal parts, intelligent rhythmic and so much fantasy! I quite like that mix (in those remote days, as well as nowadays).

Another reference could be the great "Fisher-Z". Same catchy and poppy approach, same funny sound, same funny beats. Unless you have a very, very progressive approach to progressive rock, this album doesn't hold any song which has anything to do with our beloved genre. But the whole is just so pleasant!

Another reference which comes up to my mind are the incredible Dutch band "Gruppo Sportivo". Same humoristic sense, same craziness, same good old feel. This is a great album to listen to if ever you would like to discover how some great band from the early eighties were sounding like.

It was only a pity that "Church" was truly anonymous. And to find them on PA was quite a surprise! But a good one. There are no weak moments in here; but of course you shouldn't look for any prog moment either: this is a pure and straight forward new wave album. And believe me: I have listened to quite a few of those ones.

The early "Ultravox!" fans (as I am) will definitely be passionate with a track as " Is This Where You Live": upbeat, melodic, sweet. In one word: gorgeous. One of the highlights for sure.

I understand that it is quite difficult to understand this album from a prog point of view but the music played is rich, creative as the one of the early "Roxy" or "Be Bop Deluxe" or "Split Enz". Amazing really. If ever you like this mood, I can only recommend you the debut of the bizarre and super "Devo. Are we not Men?".

To some extent, the great "Doctor Of Madness" are to be remembered as well during the moving "Don't Open?".

In all, this is a very good album but it holds no prog elements. Four stars.

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