Steve Kilbey | Painkiller (Second Motion)

cd_kilbey.jpg"Oenone" is a most welcome, simmering rocker, undoubtedly a standout.







Remember Steve Kilbey, frontman for The Church, the early ’90s Australian band? Their most popular single was "Under the Milky Way"; now you remember?

Since the band’s dissolution (to be fair, The Church did recently reunite for some shows, including a slot at SXSW a couple years back), Kilbey’s released quite a handful of solo albums; unfortunately, for this writer, none of the ones I’ve heard have been especially memorable.

Thankfully, from the very first song on Kilbey’s new release, Painkiller, the artist’s renewed enthusiasm for his craft is apparent. "Outbound" hints at his former band just a tad, with slithering guitar work and, of course, Kilbey’s signature vocals. This one’s a rocker, to be sure, with enough additional instrumentation and texture to hold your attention.

"Wolfe" continues in the same vein, leading into the twisting "Celestial"; "Song for the Making" is backed by a slightly tribal drumbeat. There are three instrumental tracks on the album—the schizophrenic "File Under Travel" (it can’t quite decide if it’s a rocker, a wave of sound or a quietly experimental offering), the odd, meandering "Spirit in Flame," and disc-closer "Not What You Say"—which detract from its appeal; we’re here for Kilbey’s familiar voice, not his noodling in the studio. In light of this, "Oenone" is a most welcome, simmering rocker, undoubtedly a standout.

Though some songs aren’t as memorable, Painkiller is still a respectable release from this longtime musician. It may not include any surefire hits like Kilbey’s earlier work with The Church, but it is a welcome addition to any fan’s library. B- | Laura Hamlett

RIYL: The Church, The Go-Betweens

Kilbey’s ex-Churchmate Marty Wilson-Piper is also releasing a solo CD, Nightjar (the two arrived together); unfortunately, this one didn’t grab me like Kilbey’s did. That’s partly, of course, due to the unfamiliarity of Wilson-Piper’s voice (to be honest, I’m not a big fan of his delivery). Still, it’s heartening to see these legendary musicians continuing to push their talent and do what they love.

About Laura Hamlett 467 Articles
Laura Hamlett is the Managing Editor of PLAYBACK:stl. In a past life, she was also a music publicist and band manager. Besides music, books, and other forms of popular culture, she's a fan of the psychology behind true crime and violent criminals. Ask her about mass murder...if you dare.

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