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Untitled #23

The Church

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iTunes Review

The Church have spent three decades occupying a nebulous space where even the band’s very existence has been questioned. They’ve written and performed pop songs of great compact intellect and appeal while simultaneously mining a slippery, ethereal otherworld where trippy lava lamps flow in uncontrolled abandon. “Cobalt Blue” opens this 2009 set and it’s a four-minute trip of Pink Floydian principle wrapped in a shoegazer’s haze, followed up with the equally psychedelic and swelling “Deadman’s Hand.” This Australian institution have long since given up any claims to the superstardom that once seemed within their grasp when what became “alternative” music in the ‘80s claimed them as one of the leading visionaries. Instead, the band, when its members are not working on their solo careers, now focuses on inventing atmospheres where gravity never holds them back. “On Angel Street,” “Pangaea,” and “Sunken Sun” vibrate with the band’s dense spell working in full force, where the bass guitar both accentuates the beat and often twists the melody in unexpected detours.

Customer Reviews

the dark alchemy of the Church

Were it not for the brief, unforeseen union between their muse and public taste in 1988, few outside their native Australia might ever have heard of the Church. In that moment, the single "Under the Milky Way" wove itself into the world's pop-cultural tattersall, a psychedelic gyre in a plain of endless squares. The moment was fleeting, and the Church never again glimpsed commercial heights. Ironically, it was "Destination" -- the song preceding majestic "Milky Way" on the "Starfish" album -- which suggested that after a poppy, jaunty first decade, the band had traversed some arcane threshold beyond which darker, more fantastic visions lay. There followed a magnum opus (the obscure, hypnotic "Priest=Aura"), various lesser works and a half-decade of functional disrepair. Yet since reconstituting as a dedicated unit in 1998, the Church have produced an unbroken string of elegantly ominous albums. Sometimes, their charms are immediate and euphoric; just as often, as with the moody new release "Untitled #23," the vision only reveals itself through ongoing exposure. It's worth the dose. From the baleful opener "Cobalt Blue," through the melodic single "Pangaea" and eight more songs of saturnine intent, the band's dark alchemy yields precious sights. The dense guitar interplay of Peter Koppes and Marty Willson-Piper provides the sonic atmosphere, anchored by the elemental percussion of Tim Powles and adorned by the fanciful flights of singer/seer Steve Kilbey. More cerebral than Radiohead, more literate than U2, more tuneful than Pink Floyd, the Church remain an aesthetic resolutely unto themselves. In down moments, Kilbey hints that "Untitled #23" could be the Church's swan song. One hopes not, because this album suggests that, however implausibly, a band nearing its 30th year has many more fertile days ahead. If twilight indeed beckons, the elegiac album-closer "Operetta" -- a swirled palette of melancholy, yearning and, ultimately, pride -- will be the perfect denouement to a most extraordinary musical journey.

The Eyes of a Cloud

It's like this. If your into THE CHURCH you don't need a review to tell you anything you don't already know about this band. If you don't already or are "just getting turned-on" to THE CHURCH go buy every album, single, remix, solo release, collaboration, or fan project you can find - put it all in one big-fix, and then go listen to your life interpreted through the eyes of... well, what should we say?

Keep Listening

This is one of those albums that just keeps getting better the more you hear it. It's amazing how many layers there are to these songs. The more you listen the more it pulls you in. I have never been an avid fan of The Church but have listened to them for years. This album has given me a whole new respect for how brilliant these guys really are. Check out solo works by the band members at second motion records.

Biography

Formed: 1980 in Sydney, Australia

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

One of the most successful and enduring Australian bands of the post-punk era, the Church began their career with music that paid explicit homage to psychedelia and 1960s folk rock, and with the passage of time they refined their own unique sound, fusing pop, art rock, progressive rock, and other flavors. The Church were formed in Sydney, Australia in 1980 by Steve Kilbey (bass, vocals), Peter Koppes (guitar), and Nick Ward (drums). Kilbey, a former member of the Tactics, had previously played with...
Full Bio

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