God Bless That Australian Jangle
Randall E. Adams | Los Angeles, CA United States | 07/25/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I purchased a used copy of this album out of curiosity. I have since acquired Willson-Pipers newest album ("Hanging Out in Heaven") and his earlier "Rhyme." And while the new album has a nice collection of songs, I listen to "Spirit Level" the most often.Marty Willson-Piper is The Church's 12 string partisan. On his own he must rely on his own voice, his guitar arranging skills and his quite considerable songwriting skills.When I first heard the otherwise good opening track "I Can't Cry," I found Willson-Piper's scratchy thin voice annoying. There's no Steve Kilbey here. The second song "Will I Start to Bleed" proved a little too hard-rock in sound for my taste. Things were not promising. However from "Turn Away to the Stars" right up to the end of the album I could no longer remember that I didn't like his singing. This is because the fine songs and sparkling arrangements dominated all the way through.So what does Marty Willson-Piper do on his own? For starters, he makes more rigorously song-based music than is usual with the Church. The music is the product of a guitarist so there is a great emphasis on either electric or acoustic guitar--usually 12-string in either case. The songs are generally mid-tempo or even slower and some, such as "Kiss You to Death" are positive rockaballads. Fear not, I am talking about really good rockaballads here. [They] report a number of used copies of this now-deleted disc here. I recommend that any person who fancies the Church buy this. I also recommend this to any Go-Betweens fan and to any other modern electric folk/rock junkie. And if you are also turned off by Willson-Piper's voice on first listen, do yourself a favor and play this disc at least three times before you give up on it. I think by then the songs and arrangements will have won you over."