Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Church Series, #2: The Church- Sing Songs EP (1982) / Remote Luxury EP (1984) / Persia EP (1984) MP3 & FLAC

"You stop to wonder as she passes by. Something inside you is never the same,
Something outside you is always to blame."

As a follow up to their promising 1981 debut, Of Skins and Heart, The Church released The Blurred Crusade in early 1982, and while it was a clear step forward sonically as well as conceptually, Capitol Records refused to release the album in the U.S., claiming it was not commercial enough. In part to placate their U.S. distributor, The Church quickly returned to the studio to hastily record a number of additional songs, including a cover of Simon & Garfunkel's "I Am a Rock," all of which were quickly rejected by Capitol, who then decided to drop the band, leaving them without a distributor in the U.S. for nearly two years. Despite this, the songs were given a European release by EMI in early 1982 as the Sing-Songs EP, and while, ironically, the songs themselves are less immediately accessible than those found on The Blurred Crusade, there are, nevertheless, a few standouts, including "A Different Man," one of the better examples of the band's early Jangle-Pop sound. The Church experienced more record label-related difficulties while recording their next album Seance, as one of the favorite songs from their live set, "10,000 Miles" was rejected by their handlers at EMI. As a result, the band decided to take a step away from major-label interference and a step toward creative autonomy by recording and self-producing two EPs in 1984, Remote Luxury & Persia, both of which recall the poppier moments found on The Church's debut while suggesting a more tightly focused approach to songwriting, as Steven Kilbey stated at the time, "Those earlier songs were great for people who had the time to sit down and listen, but this is such an immediate world we're living in. I want to make short, powerful statements rather than long, meandering, dreamy ones. It's time for The Church to stop messing about and hit home."

Steve Kilbey & Peter Koppes (back)
Although nearly thirty years after its release Steve Kilbey is prone to dismissing the Remote Luxury EP as a "lost opportunity," its five songs clearly constituted an attempt to diversify their sonic approach by integrating more keyboard-driven melodies and proggy flourishes into the mix with the Byrds-influenced Jangle-Pop they had, up to this point, been identified with. This is most evident on songs such as "Maybe These Boys," with its insistently trashy synth-line and the title track, which introduces some of the proggy guitar-work that would come to define the band's sound fifteen years later. However, the real gem happens to be the one most refective of their earlier work: "Into My Hands," a gorgeous acoustic 12-string-driven ballad that features one of Kilbey's most affecting vocals. While the follow-up EP, Persia, isn't as consistently excellent as its precursor, it does continue the sonic diversity found on Remote Luxury; in particular, "Constant in Opal" and "Violet Town" are among the more sonically adventurous "pop" songs The Church committed to tape in their early years, as it meshes the jangly Post-Punk of their intial recordings with the dark psychedelia they would mine throughout the mid-to-late eighties. While not as consistently memorable as full-length albums such as The Blurred Crusade, Seance, and Heyday, these EPs offer a glimpse of The Church in a transitional phase, pushing their sound into new regions with admittedly mixed results, but on the songs they get it right, to quote Kilbey once again, "The Church stop messing about and hit home."

Sing-Songs / Remote Luxury / Persia  
(EMI ~ 2001 ~ Remastered)

Sing-Songs EP

1. A Different Man  (3:13)
2. Ancient History  (2:29)
3. The Night Is Very Soft  (3:46)
4. In This Room  (4:02)
5. I Am a Rock  (2:11)

Remote Luxury EP

 6. Maybe These Boys  (5:49)
 7. 10,000 Miles  (4:16)
 8. Into My Hands  (3:43)
 9. A Month of Sundays  (4:23)
10. Remote Luxury  (3:18)

Persia EP

11. Constant in Opal  (3:23)
12. Volumes  (4:05)
13. No Explanation  (3:52)
14. Violet Town  (4:28)
15. Shadow Cabinet  (4:18)


  1. Rock 'n' Roll Party! Didn't have any of these, many thanks.

  2. Really looking forward to giving these a proper listen. Thanks for posting these gems!

  3. Thanks!

    Any chance of "Blurred Crusade" being posted as well?

  4. scurfie, you're welcome. There are some great songs here, especially on the last two EPs

  5. Paulo X, definitely. It will appear within the next few Church series posts

  6. Thanks very much, Voix.

  7. Oh wow, voixautre,
    how good is this, mate.
    I grabbed this yesterday.
    Have been looking for "Sing-Songs" in FlAC for at least two years now. Definitely top of my "most sought after" list. Way cool to have all three EPs together!
    Thanks so much, man!

  8. Great post V this cd is great, I only had some of these...thx

  9. Levin, nice to hear from you. It's an honor to post something from the top of a reader's "most sought after" list. Let me know if there are other Church or related recordings you're interested in. I'll make sure they are in the series

  10. Great post, V! Nice to see some of this early stuff again (Persia), and a lot that I've never heard!

  11. voixautre,

    Great series! I recently ripped my entire Church collection to FLAC. I am a completist so if you are missing anything at all, any obscurities as you go along, just make mention...

    BTW, it's fun to compare the Arista cd pressings to the remasters with a reference DAC. There are strengths to each but in the end the 1988 discs win out for me. However, the OZ vinyl gatefold pressing of The Blurred Crusade is sonic heaven. If I ever have the ambition and a proper cartridge, that is one I would like to rip to 24/192 along with the (blue) NZ Stunn pressing of Seance. Someday...

  12. Do you have Curious (Yellow)'s sole album, Charm & Blues? It's one of Karin Jansson's bands, and Kilbey participates in it (he dated her for a while, and they wrote Under the Milky Way together); I've actually only heard one song from it (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eBbLKMVlfOk) but it's so good I want to hear the rest.

    Anyway, this is me basically asking if you can/will post that someday.

  13. Cool, had the cd of Remore Luxury but that one doesn't contain all these tracks, thx

  14. backtracking on posts. thanks for this voix. had these on vinyl but good to have the remastered as well :-)

  15. please can you change the links? megaupload doesn't exist anymore!!!!!!! pleaaaaase!!!!!!!!!

  16. 2nd last comment, please re-upload!

  17. The Links are dead. :( Please, can you upload again? Thanks for the the good music taste in killingmoon! Greetings from Argentina.


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