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Top Customer Reviews
The Church hated Los Angeles and barely endured their two-month stay. During that time the city experienced two major earthquakes and numerous tremors. The band members suffered serious bouts of homesickness and dislocation in a lonely town at once both ugly and magnetic. They had lost their recording contract with EMI and had just completed negotiating and signing with Arista. Waddy Wachtel and Greg Ladanyi were assigned to produce the band-two individual mostly known for their association with the Southern California sound of the Eagles, Jackson Browne, Linda Ronstadt and Stevie Nicks. An antithesis to what the Church stood for and a recipe for friction for all sides. Wachtel had the band rehearse these ten songs over and over-picking them apart and building them back together again ad finitum. Ladanvi on the other hand was apt to be off at the golf course after barely getting the songs on tape in one take.
The first thing that hits you about this record is how much of a "guitar album" it is. Starfish is awash in several different guitar styles and carefully thought out patterns and lines. The result is a lean, cutting and harder edged sound that paradoxically produces a gentle feel.Read more ›
"Destination" is a wonderfully dreamy intro song. It has a lovely bridge where Steve Kilbey is almost speaking rather than singing. "Under the Milky Way" is an obvious single, although I had never heard it before. There is a great frantic bagpipes sound in the middle of the song. "Blood Money" is another fine song. I started noticing there was something similar here to Midnight Oil's sound - maybe the backing vocals in the choruses.
Man I could go on about all these songs! Side two (LP speaking) is also strong, with the upbeat "Spark" and "Reptile." But The Church are best known for their laid-back guitar rock. Like the Amazon reviewer said, they pre-dated what was to become the English rock sound of the '90s. The mega-successful Coldplay especially sounds influenced by The Church. I also notice similarities with The Verve (psychedelia) and R.E.M. (jangly guitars). They all owe something to the Byrds.
I'm a big Church fan, but I'll be the first to admit that they've released some awful CDs when they were burned out and just going through the motions or when record labels stifled their creativity trying to make a buck (Gold Afternoon Fix is a good example). Starfish will not disappoint, though. Turn off the lights, kick back and turn up the volume for this CD. Savor Steve Kilbey's creamy voice and the amazing way Peter Koppes and Marty Willson-Piper intertwine their guitars. Most of the songs on this album are mesmerizing and slightly psychadelic, but Spark and Reptile are two rocking songs. The guitar riff on Reptile is genius.
If you enjoy this CD, other CDs by The Church you may enjoy include The Blurred Crusade and Heyday. If you particularly like the psychadelic traits of their music, check out Magician Among the Spirits. Hopefully we'll be seeing more great things from The Church. A very loyal worldwide cult following via the Internet has encouraged the band to stay together and keep writing despite difficulties with record deals, drugs, etc. Now that lead singer/lyricist Steve Kilbey is off the H, I predict The Church's brilliance will shine once more.
There was also "Reptile" that I knew I liked a lot with the echoing guitar, nice bass melodie and the rattlesnake sound. I had no clue of the other songs.
I remember when I played this disc for the first time, I tought my cd player did not picked up the right album on the carrousel and was playing "Won't get fooled again" by the Who. Did not have the chance to go back to the machine to see it was not them but the beginning of beautiful song "Destination".
"North-south-east and west" that I had never heard before really caught my attention. In the first 15 seconds I knew I would like that song (everytime I hear chorus pedal on guitar I am attracted like a magnet). Then, they add the drum, bass and it becomes even more awsome.
A must have album
Most recent customer reviews
Title track and "Blood Money" are the best recordings.
This is a very unique group, in a gloomy-pop sort of way. Read more
I've owned this album (in various formats) for almost 15 years now. So why would I be writing a review after all this time? Read morePublished on Jan. 5 2004 by Kevin Gamble
I first heard the beautiful plucked strings of Reptile in the winter of 1988 when I was a freshman in high school... Read morePublished on Aug. 2 2003 by Nicholas White
These guys continue to produce exellent music. I highly recommend "After everything, now this" and "Hologram of Baal"...just absolutely brilliant.Published on April 16 2003
This album was my introduction to The Church. I first heard "Reptile" on some obscure east end Long Island radio station while driving in my car in 1988. Read morePublished on March 24 2003
Starfish is one of those classic CD's that is perfectly unique. Of the thousands of CD's I have heard this one still stands out (the acoustic guitar, the lyrics and overall... Read morePublished on Nov. 11 2002 by K. H Mark
I thought I would go ahead and give this CD a review as it has been in my car for the past two weeks courtesy of a girlfriend who insists that Puddle of Mudd, Sublime and Blink 182... Read morePublished on Oct. 22 2002
"Ethereal" seems to sum up what most others have said about this masterpiece and I would certainly agree. Read morePublished on Sept. 18 2002 by D. Hawkins