Steve Kilbey: Painkiller

Aussie alternative rock band the Church began making music almost a quarter century ago, and while that band perfected the art of lo-fi before lo-fi was even a term anyone used, it was singer, songwriter and front man Steve Kilbey who mostly dominated the creative aspect of the Church. Kilbey’s first solo effort in eight years, Painkiller, was released in Australia in 2008 and just recently in the U.S. on Second Motion Records. But Church fans should be hesitant at best to grab this or any of Kilbey’s solo work – not because he isn’t talented or that his hypnotic vocals aren’t as spot on as they were in the ‘80s, but because it sounds like Kilbey puts his these songs together in a musical lab. There’s just a lot of weird experimentation going on, with melody and cohesion being after-thoughts. Kilbey’s poetry background is evident in some of these tracks, in particular the opener “Outbound,” which sounds like a spoken-word piece with musical backing. “Celestial” and “Crystalline Rush” are dark and somewhat palatable, as is the catchiest track, “Oenone.” But when Kilbey breaks out the test tubes and beakers, as he does on the 12-minute instrumental track, “File Under Travel,” or on the (gasp) 31-minute long “Not What You Say,” you just might fall asleep before you realize what’s happening. (Second Motion)

Steve Kilbey MySpace Page