- 19 Mar 21
The Return Of The Churchtown Two
When I was a fresh-faced boy, Shane O’Neill was a proper rock star. Ok, Blue In Heaven didn’t exactly set the world’s cash registers aflame, but the handsome, bleached-haired, leather-trousered O’Neill of ‘I Just Wanna’ and Explicit Material was most likely smoking cigarettes and having sex twenty-five hours a day. He was surely getting more action than the lads in Cry Before Dawn for a start.
Around the same time Blue In Heaven morphed into The Blue Angels – working with sainted Rolling Stones knob twiddler Jimmy Miller on their 1993 Coming Out Of Nowhere long player, which is some pretty serious action – O’Neill’s childhood friend David Long was having his moment in the sun with Into Paradise, another band from the period who could have and should have - dial up ‘Burns My Skin’ and the rest of Churchtown if you don’t believe me. Long and O’Neill later put Supernaut together in 1997, and then got on with their lives.
Which brings us up to Moll & Zeis. Recorded, with love and skill, by these two venerable gentlemen “by email”, there’s more than enough of what made those former bands vital to justify its existence. In amongst the (near) instrumentals – ‘In Out’ reminded this listener, in a good way, of The Edge’s Captive soundtrack, while ‘Finnegan’ and ‘Wandering’ might have benefitted from another half an hour in the oven – are some very good songs.
‘Albert The Painter’ gave me a slight case of the indie-rock hives, but the acousticy ‘For You’, the bass throb and big “I can see further than that these days” refrain of the title track, and the widescreen guitars breaking through the whisper of ‘Earth Moves’ more than make up for it. The priapic pulse and Get Carter keyboards of ‘Morning Song’ show that O’Neill is still at least getting the leg over early in the day, and best of all is the New Order/Bunnymen-esque ‘Far From Home’. In another dimension, it’s a huge hit, and its two authors finally get their deserved houses overlooking the bay with the sports cars in the drive, before O’Neill inevitably overdoes it in a Paris bathtub.
Good to see them back in the saddle, so to speak.