The Church

Quick Smoke at Spot's

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AllMusic Review by

Conveniently collecting all the various B-sides from the Starfish and Gold Afternoon Fix singles, Quick Smoke is a godsend to the hardcore Church fan, acting as a useful adjunct to Hindsight without also being a greatest hits/singles overview. Steve Kilbey's liner notes this time out don't study everything song by song, but are instead a witty pondering on the nature of liner notes in the first place, so those wanting knowledge on where every song comes from will have to look elsewhere. As for the music, the by-definition fragmented collection still contains a number of true winners. Most follow in the general Church vein, but as tracks often recorded away from the LA-based production team that handled the parent albums, they often show a nice contrast in sound. Many use drum machines for percussion, possibly for convenience but likely also foreshadowing Richard Ploog's eventual departure. Lead-off track "Texas Moon" is actually one of the band's strongest songs, a powerful, energetic number with great work from Marty Willson-Piper and Peter Koppes on complex, shimmering guitar riffs, while Kilbey and Ploog create a strong, varied rhythm punch. Buried harmonica and Kilbey's strong singing make for the icing on the cake. "Much Too Much" is another strong rocker, with a fine chorus and rough, immediate feel, while "You Got Off Light" and "Hunter" also give the band a chance to get out some feedback crunch and belting performances, though Kilbey as always sings in his deceptively calm, attractive way. An amusing touch in "Anna Miranda" is the use of a line from "Under the Milky Way" from time to time, dropped in and then moved on from. Generally, the collection tends toward such louder, more driving tracks, but there are quieter moments scattered throughout. "Forgotten Reign" has a fair amount going on, but the pace is measured, led by a single guitar chime over an acoustic/electric blend, while "Ride Into the Sunset" benefits from additional string-synth orchestration.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 5:45
2 2:57
3 3:52
4 4:13
5 2:48
6 2:20
7 3:57
8 4:19
9 3:02
10 4:24
11 2:57
12 4:32
13 3:30
14 3:24
15 4:48
16 4:14
blue highlight denotes track pick