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4.7 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews

Price: CDN$ 47.41
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 1 1998)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony Music Canada Inc.
  • ASIN: B000002VF0
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  LP Record
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #108,939 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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1. Destination
2. Under the Milky Way
3. Blood Money
4. Lost
5. North, South, East and West
6. Spark
7. Antenna
8. Reptile
9. A New Season
10. Hotel Womb

Product Description

Australian exclusive. Digitally remastered and augmented with a bonus CD of B-sides and acoustic tracks. Features original art including never before seen photographs. Starfish (originally released 1988) took the Church to a new level creatively and gave them an international hit single 'Under the Milky Way'. EMI. 2005.

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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Format: Audio CD
Nineteen Eighty-Eight was a huge year for Aussie rock. There was this album by The Church, Midnight Oil's Diesel and Dust, and INXS' Kick. I was already familiar with INXS, but not Midnight Oil or The Church. Actually, Starfish was a much quieter discovery than the other two. I had read a little review of the album and decided to pick it up on reputation alone. What a great investment. I have since given my cassette copy to my sister and upgraded to CD.
"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.
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Format: Audio CD
For The Church the stars and planets must have been especially aligned for this album to be made. Never before or since have The Church enjoyed some widespread appeal. Starfish was the first record The Church had recorded outside of their native Australia. This was the first time they had recorded in a studio different from the one they had made their first five albums. Reading band accounts of making of Starfish makes one wonder why they didn't call the record "L.A. Sucks".
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.
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Format: Audio CD
Just like the Rolling Stones, The Velvet Underground, the Church have developed a sound and contine to mine that sound honing it and shaping it to the clarity of a fine diamond. If you're looking for something with a lot of change and development between one album and the next, you won't find it unless you listen for the subtle development of the band's melodies, playing and Steve Kilbey's sharpened ability to shape a lyric.
STARFISH doesn't have the diversity of sounds and influences that HEYDAY did and what little it has in common with earlier Church releases like THE BLURRED CRUSADE is the basic blueprint for the band's sound. STARFISH shows unexpected fluidity and overall has a less stylized and rigid sound compared to their earlier albums. Comparing this album is akin to comparing the Stones' AFTERMATH to LET IT BLEED or BEGGAR'S BANQUET--the pattern for the suit has been cut, but putting it together and then actually seeing it on someone are far different experiences.
REPTILE, HOTEL WOMB and UNDER THE MILKY WAY TONIGHT represent some of the best, melodic songwriting the band has done. SPARK shows some of the added edge the band has developed on this album. Kilbey, always a stylized vocalist a la Lou Reed or Leonard Cohen, shows considerably range(for him) and a renewed melodic singing/speaking style that was a direct outgrowth of HEYDAY's more varied sound.
Within their stylistic limitations, the Church have grown enormously and this, one of their best albums, became an unexpected hit due to this growth. A pity they haven't added the acoustic version of UNDER THE MILKY WAY as a bonus track, though. Get this cd while you can as most of their material is beling deleted stateside by Arista.
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Format: Audio CD
I first heard the beautiful plucked strings of Reptile in the winter of 1988 when I was a freshman in high school...I managed to pop a tape in the deck and record the second half of the song off the radio, not knowing who it was. I played that tape over and over! It wasn't until a few months later the song came back on the radio and the dj was kind enough to announce the track's name and artist.
No one in school had heard of The Church except this one senior in science class; she said, "Didn't they do that spacey milky galaxy song?"
The summer of '89 I found the whole album in [store] of all places...I bought it with The Cult's 'Sonic Temple' (remember 'Fire Woman' anyone?) and raced home to listen to them both.
Boy, was I disappointed...I was really looking forward to enjoying The Cult album, but it was actually Starfish which caught my attention. It was a very hot summer that year, the guitars shimmered as much as the blacktop and desert and I truly felt that the temperature dropped a few degrees while the album played.
I could listen to the whole album over and favorite Church song today remains 'Reptile', it was one of the first things I tried to learn on guitar! As I'm much older now I appreciate the entire album as a complete work. Musically and technically it is very good, anyone who likes the layered 'jangly' sound of Johnny Marr/The Smiths will certainly enjoy most of the songs on the album.
The only other albums I've had of The Church were Gold Afternoon Fix, Priest = Aura and The Blurred Crusade. I LOVE The Blurred Crusade and a few tracks off the other ones, but Starfish is by far THE one I would take to the grave with me.
The winners on Starfish are Reptile, Destination, Spark and Hotel Room. Sorry folks, Milky Way doesn't do it for me like it does others, but that's gets some airplay here from time to time, it must still be a requested song.
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