Another INXS record, another crazy title. This is INXS’s fifth long player, and it’s better than anything that came before. Certainly better than Shabooh Shoobah which has more filler than this. Listen Like Thieves is about as close as INXS got to releasing an LP that was filler-free. Yes, even the old classic Kick has padding.
Some of the weird keyboard doodlings of yore are still present on this album, but it takes a back seat to the drum-heavy blues/funk/new-wave crossover that this band became renowned for. While The Swing began heading in this direction, it still possessed a lot of the band’s pub rock sensibilities. They’re all but gone now and INXS have progressed into the big league.
Contrary to how it usually went in the 80s, it’s Side Two that has all the great music. From the opening roar of Biting Bullets to the thundering quasi-metal of Red, Red Sun, Side Two just soars along. Same Direction is the album highlight and rates amongst the top 5 of anything they ever did. This Time is there too, as is the Australian bush-in-summer instrumental of Three Sisters.
Side One has the filler, alas. Take away What You Need and Kiss The Dirt, and you can happily write it off. Truthfully, the record is worth buying just for Side Two. As I said, this is as good as INXS got with making an LP full of killer songs. Enjoy it.
Should be listened to in the bedroom and out of it says the groove notes, and I can happily say I’ve followed those instructions to the letter. Even without the benefit of psychedelic substances, this record is a stupendous winner. It’s different enough from anything released by The Church to please non-fans of that band, but similar enough for others to feel as if they’re walking on comfortable ground.
This wonderful record was released in the afterglow of Heyday, itself a masterpiece, and it’s provided me with years of sublime enjoyment. Make no mistake – it’s not mainstream music; far from it, but once you’ve delved into the record’s delights you’re not likely to leave soon.
The word “shimmering” gets heaved about a bit when referring to The Church, yet that’s exactly what this LP does. It shimmers. And it occasionally sparkles and stutters. In your face, but still mysterious tracks like Transference does all of the above, then there’s the hypnotic zig-zagging Swampdrone and Heliopolis, both of which will stay in your mind long after the record has stopped. Kilbey even slappas da bass on Design Error, and throws in a blast from a whistle for good measure. Things go up tempo with Judgement Day, reflective with Othertime, and positively weird on Famine
The record was self-produced and recorded at home by Kilbey, and that precisely what it feels like. Low-budget, low-fi and yet disturbingly effective. If anything out there has to be labelled “alternative rock” then this is it. This is what it’s about. This is easily one of the better records I’ve touched on here.
The CD release adds a couple of tracks, Forgetfulness and Nonapology.