Thursday, 25 November 2010

Affecting albums - Of Skins and Heart - The Church

(Click on the links in the song titles to be taken to Spotify for a listen)

The Church would have to be one of Australia's longest lived bands. Formed in 1980, they are still going strong today, with a sold out tour going on as I write this post. As with any band that has lasted 30 years, they have had high points and low points, changes of line-up, and an impressive 19 album releases.

Not quite pop, not quite new-wave, the distinctive guitar sound, harmonies and cryptic lyrics have led to The Church being in a genre of their own.

Of Skins and Heart is perhaps not their best album (for this reviewer The Blurred Crusade and Starfish would be two immediate contenders), but as a first album it had an electric effect on the Australian music landscape, and certainly made The Church a band to watch.

Highlights on this disc are The Unguarded Moment, which would have to be one of the finest pop songs to come out of Australia, Chrome Injury (although I've got no idea what the lyrics are about!), Is this where you live, and She Never Said.

Of Skins and Heart also started a not-so-good tradition for The Church, which lasted for quite a while, where the last song on the album is a bit of a dog. If you never hear Don't Open the Door to Strangers, you won't be missing much.

The Church were the precursor to a wave of jangly guitar bands coming out of OZ in the 80s and 90s - their influence has been huge, and it all started here.

Of Skins and Heart is available via iTunes, or at Amazon.

Cheers for now, from
A View Over the Bell


  1. interesting blog but I must disagree with this. everyone knows the church only had one decent album (starfish). they were barely heard of b4 starfish and havent been heard of since.

    adrienne of elsternwick

  2. Hi Adrienne,

    Thanks for your comment. Starfish was certainly the Church's most successful album, and does have a couple of their best ever tunes (Under the Milky Way, Reptile). You don't say whether you've listened to any other Church albums - check out the one I've reviewed, or their second album The Blurred Crusade, which are equally good as Starfish - others suggest Heyday is their best ever album, but I don't see that myself.

    As for barely heard of, that would depend on what you mean by that. They were certainly a big act in Australia in the mid 80s, playing at big venues, and even appearing on Countdown (!). They've always had a decent following in Europe. I note their next show is at the Sydney Opera House, so they're doing better than a lot of other bands.....


  3. Hi AVOTB,

    Interesting review. I don't know the band myself, but I do enjoy your thoughts on your horns. Are there any trumpets on this album? I'm sure there must be, and I think they had bagpipes on one of their songs. When will you next be writing a trumpet profile?

    George, Ivanhoe