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Painkiller

February 17, 2009 | Format: MP3

$8.99
Also available in CD Format
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5:21
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2:35
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4:22
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4:01
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4:55
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12:41
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2:54
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4:32
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4:05
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2:44
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12:41
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By Brien Comerford on November 18, 2008
Format: Audio CD
The Church's lead vocalist, Steve Kilbey, has reached a new zenith with a solo CD that is akin to a new Church masterpiece. The dreamy, psychedelic and glorious sounds are all present to accompany his resonant, intoxicating and refined vocals. To begin with one must mention the instrumental "File Under Travel" which is a pulsating classic that would be idyllic for a James Bond film. Even more essential are the CD's first four songs namely the euphoric "Outbound", the mesmerizing "Wolfe" and the luminous "Celestial" followed by the spellbinding "Crystalline Rush". Kilbey's bass playing virtuoisty is very alive and well on the riveting "Oenone". I really cannot describe the magnificence of Steve Kilbey unless I quote a music critic who states that "Steve Kilbey is the elaborate and ethereal Australian mystic that must be heard." The song "Spirit In Flame" aptly translates the critic's laudatory praise. Buy this CD now !
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Format: Audio CD
Steve Kilbey - the lead vocalist, bass player and cryptic lyricist of the excellent and underrated, Australian rock band The Church - is an eclectic record maker responsible for some fascinating and very diverse solo recordings among which my favorites are Remindlessness, Narcosis + More, Dabble, and his latest album, the intoxicating Painkiller. As Brien Comerford - another reviewer here (and The Church devotee) - would say "It's all Killer, and no filler!", Killer being Kilbey's nickname.

Picking favorite songs is not an easy task, but I am going to give it a try, anyway.
In no particular order (except 1 - 4):

1.
Outbound: my favorite song on Painkiller and a very convincing opening track. Pounding bass, intense and edgy lead vocal. One of the most memorable Steve Kilbey solo songs ever. Lyric sample: "White hippy Moses like an aphid in the roses/Universal inverse in inverted poses/Like a snort of amnesia, a ball up your noses/Not what the man in the street supposes."

2.
Spirit In Flame: this song is my second most favorite song on Painkiller.
Dark. Mysterious. Very cool. Makes me think of the Narcosis + More album.

3.
Not What You Say: the last track is my third most favorite song on Painkiller. It's a track, which is very hard to describe - a song you'll have to hear for yourself in all of its 12 + minutes glory. Kilbey stops singing as soon as 1 minute and 35 seconds into the song, and then there's a long, hypnotising, instrumental passage lasting approximately 4 minutes until Kilbey's vocal returns - a powerful, goosebump inducing moment.

4.
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Format: Audio CD
Steve Kilbey is the singer, bassist and main lyricist of the legendary Australian band, The Church. `Painkiller' marks Kilbey's first solo album in seven years and it is the equivalent of some of The Church's finest records. The record feels as if it were recorded on a satellite and beamed back to Earth. Several of the songs have an atmospheric sheen of flickering electronics and sonic experimentation. These touches do not distract but enhance the spacey feel of the acoustics.

`Painkiller' opens with "Outbound" a song that features a barking Syd Barrett-esque lyric, "White hippy Moses like an aphid in the roses/Universal inverse in inverted poses/Like a snort of amnesia, a ball up your noses/Not what the man in the street supposes." "Outbound" doesn't stay rooted in its madness as it also swoons and sways around the chorus while recalling David Bowie's "Hallo Spaceboy" at times. "Wolfe" offers a refuge from the space rock of "Outbound" with its Dylanesque snarl and upbeat time changes.

However, the record shines when it stays rooted in the space rock vibe that dominates this album. "Celestial" is reminiscent of previous Church glories touched by bits of mellotron and ambient instrumentation. The swirly and bass heavy "Song For The Masking" is a greasy and droney track that leads into the lengthy space rock explosion of "File Under Travel." Other highlights include the trippy "Spirit in Flame" and the angry vibe of "Forever Lasts For Nothing." The album concludes with the 31-minute ambient epic "Not What You Say."
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Format: Audio CD
I'm about to type something really reckless. You ready? Here it goes: If "Painkiller" were the only thing to Steve Kilbey's name, he would still deserve the same amounts of accolades that he's received with the Church since 1981. I guess I wouldn't blame you if you thought I was full of it, but I really think that Kilbey's latest solo album is something to behold alongside any "classic" album to be born out of the new wave era and its inconsistent aftermath. Steve Kilbey has finally made an album every bit as good as a Church album. I'm chuckling around lots of superlatives, aren't I? Well, I mean every one.

In 2001 Steve Kilbey released "Dabble," a sad little reminder that solo albums leave a lot to be desired when the rest of the band isn't there to round things out (just ask a Beatles fan). "Painkiller" proves that wrong and then some. It probably helped to have Church member Tim Powles along for drumming and production.

But like many things Church-related, you aren't going to "get" it the first time. Nor the second. Maybe not even the third. My first reaction to "Outbound" was something more along the lines of "what the H, E, double hockey sticks is this all about?" than "wow, this is really, really good." Maybe it was the singular musical drone of the verses, the shouted lyrics. But after numerous listens, that chorus just hit me out of nowhere, with the acoustic guitar backdrop, radiotronics, and Kilbey muttering "I am, I am, I am..."

"Wolfe," an exercise in swirling noise, might even be better. "Celestial" and "Crystalline Rush" are just about note perfect replications of the Church aesthetic, if not the sound, shining through in tunefulness.
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