All About Eve

Touched by Jesus

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Touched by Jesus Review

by Chris True

To call All About Eve's "situation" in 1991 precarious would be an understatement. Gone was guitarist Tim Bricheno, the credibility of goth pop like the Eves and the Mission had been pushed aside by shoegazing and baggy, and their sophomore release, Scarlet and Other Stories, had not met expectations critically or sales-wise (perhaps no fault of the band, but rather due to the fickleness of the pop music-buying public or the inability of music journalists not to sensationalize any new "thing" that comes along). To solve the problem of guitarists, the band managed to recruit Church mainstay Marty Willson-Piper, who brought with him a more mature and developed style. Obviously, the band itself had to mature musically as well, and on Touched by Jesus (an "unfortunate title" according to frontwoman Julianne Regan) the band does just that. From the opening notes of "Strange Way," it's obvious that All About Eve are trying to break from the past. Producer Warne Livesey gives the band a bigger sound, and Willson-Piper's guitar style steers the band away from the admittedly drippy-hippy feel of the first two albums, resulting in an album that showcases a band in flux. But like many growth spurts, mistakes will be made. While much of the album is a lush, well-arranged affair, moments (the breakdown in "Touched by Jesus," for example, or the pervasive "existential wonderings" of the lyrics) feel tacked on and overbaked. But for all the missteps there are some real gems here, including "Ravens," the euphoric melody of the chorus of "Rhythm of Life," and the catchy singles "Strange Way" and "The Dreamer." Touched by Jesus was a bit of a stylistic change (not the first nor the last for the band) for All About Eve, and while the gamble may not have paid off (for whatever the reason), the record is well crafted, well played, and for the most Eves fans, worth owning.

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