A dark painting of a bunch of knights holding a little bird. The clank and clatter of the harness. The grating squeal of the steel joints. Night falling, the fires of distant Jerusalem a sheer memory in war-damaged brains. Is there any human content in those armours? And suddenly that little bird decides to land... God what a great image. It's so scary and dark when you think about it. Darkness, gloom and mystery - the three "A" of The Church's music. But - stop!! Strip off the whole imagery, and their brand of twisted guitar pop still sounded very uplifting. Of course there are deep drums and bells, the intriguing lyrics...but in the end, that's a lot of quite energetic, joyful music we've been hearing. Sped up on amphetamine and dope when played live. But, wait, aren't The Church those dark psychedelians from another universe?
The Night Is Very Soft is quite revolutionary, as it's the first true example of Mope Rock in The Church's oeuvre. You know, that certain kind of grim beauty in a slowed down fashion, without pulling the stop knob registers of yearning and sad happiness on the full-blasting organ of human emotion...Seance and Gold Afternoon Fix rely heavily on that register, but actually, it's not too common, though some might associate The Church with that kind of mood first. Nice, chiming dissonant riff...like a slowed down Hendrix on opium, smouldering through the sound like incense smoke...mechanical drumming...and for the first time actually, a very cold and distant sound in Kilbey's voice. This is actually the first time Kilbey realized one of his detached noir visions with slightly sinister sexual content (-> Loveblind, -> Espionage). Yes, noir is the keyword here. Just have a look at the lyrics, and they're working as prose, too, in a Chandler or Sacher-Masoch way:
Tiny drops of water glistened on her black fur. Taillights in earshot, headlights shine through her, and on. Legs crossed on the red surge settee. I sat next to nothing and she looked right through me, and on. Inside the car sat a sulky blonde and on her lap the road went on and on As she dresses I look to the ground. Perhaps I know where the place can be found, and on. Outside, the night is very soft, but where does it end. We'd pile into the Buick, but you've got to have money for that...
What a nice noir prostitution scenery, in a sweet David Lynch style! And what does that milk white guitar metaphor mean here? The lyrical self apparently is broke, does it mean the guitar plays itself, sometimes?