England has The Smiths, America has REM and Australia has The Church, whose credence may not be fashionable, but it's certainly admirable. Having promoted a charismatic jingle jangle guitar sound on their first three excellent albums, 'Remote Luxury' finds The Church heading off in a divergent area.
The guitars are still intact but the approach melanged with the subject matter find songsmith Steve Kilbey traipsing through the tunnel of tranquility. Apart from the opening track 'Constant In Opal' with its feedback guitar intro and tape-loop type bass playing, the majority of Side One is disappointingly mellow. Moreover, 'No Explanation' has an enchanting summery feel to it with the phrasing being not too far removed from that of a certain '60s protest singer. Whereas 'Ten Thousand Miles' is the sort of music Jimi Hendrix used to lean against and crank up during the psychedelic era.
Side Two without a doubt delivers the goods. 'A Month Of Sundays' picks up the scorned sighs of boredom that were to be found on the previous side and should be a single. It should also be played time and time again and filed under excellent. With a title like that, I've decided that it would make a great stage play. Glenda Jackson couldn't possibly refuse!
'Volumes', the best track on the album reminds me of early U2, which just goes to show that The Church still 'mean it', even on an album of heavily, hazy, phased production.
This album certainly is remote in its luxury. Let's hope the next one isn't.
by David Marx
Debut Magazine #5, p. 61