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The Church - Sometime Anywhere CD (album) cover


The Church


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3.32 | 21 ratings

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4 stars [Ninth in a series] After the unexpectedly amazing quality of "Priest=Aura," I was certain that The Church could not possibly top themselves. Boy, was I wrong (and would be again...). Though it was not so much a matter of "topping" as of continuing to extend their rapidly-growing range, and using their unique blend of songwriting, arrangement and texture to create equally great (or better) music. "Sometime Anywhere" provides ample evidence that the band accomplished exactly that. / "Day of the Dead" - another lyrical masterpiece from Kilbey, and another true Church "original" - starts in Floydian mode, quickly developing into a bass riff-propelled arrangement with minimalist guitar work, a simple but effective beat that builds and fades, and an increasingly present atmosphere. "Lost My Touch" is among the weirdest pieces the band has ever done, with an off-time beat and bass figure and scratchy guitar undergirding a fuzzed-out vocal on the verses, giving way to a truly haunting chorus, with a strange, "psychedelic" instrumental section in the middle. "Loveblind" remains my favorite Church song ever. (It is on my list of "desert island songs.") It is among the most deceptively simple, masterful, hypnotic and flat-out beautiful arrangements ever written by the band, and supports one of Kilbey's most haunting stories. (If you hear this on headphones, I guarantee you will listen to it twice before listening to the rest of the album.) "My Little Problem" is a humorous ditty built around some pretty guitars, a McCartney-esque bass line, and "peek-a-boo" drum and keyboard (string) figures. "The Maven" calls to mind "The Illusionist" (from "Priest=Aura"), having a similar theme and arrangement - a brilliant rhyming lyric about a phony mendicant, supported by a simple arrangement (sort of Dylan-meets-Floyd). If "Lost My Touch" is weird, then "Angelica" is downright bizarre. Almost Belew-era Crimzoid in its approach, it includes a Fripp-ish guitar figure, a hypnotic, repetitive arrangement, a simple, almost paranoid lyric, a crazy vocal delivery, and strange sound effects (including a well-used violin). "Lullaby" is a short but beautiful ballad about the baby Jesus, undergirded almost entirely by two tremolo guitars. "Eastern" is without question my favorite Church instrumental. Using a quasi-Arabic beat, violin, and some authentic Arabic percussion and guitar-like instruments, the overall effect is both strange and truly beautiful. "Two Places At Once" is another truly original, masterful arrangement from the band, moving between soft, violin-laced sections and harder, drum-propelled sections, and pits the voices of Kilbey and Willson-Piper against each other in a neat way. "Business Woman" and "Authority" both have great lyrics on odd subjects, and a more straightforward musical approach, harking back to the best of the band in its "Heyday" period, showing that they can still "rock" when they want to, but with a decidedly more "mature" flair. "Fly Home" brings us back to the present with a nicely textured, bass riff-propelled arrangement including a subtle arpeggiated guitar, occasional keyboard figure, and some nice sound effects, giving way to a heavy Floydian chorus (ending with a reprise of the "Loveblind" theme). "The Dead Man's Dream" is a truly dreamy, hypnotic arrangement with a repetitive guitar riff, textured keyboards, and overlapping vocal lines. / By itself, this disc provides enough proof that the band is still very much on track in its exciting new approach, if not growing even more. However...

The band must have been having an exceptionally creative moment, and apparently could not help themselves from providing even more great music. In fact, the seven songs on disc two actually comprise something of a separate "mini-album," with a slightly more "playful" tone. "Drought" starts us off in high style, with a great beat, and a neat arrangement of cool congas, minimalist guitars, and subtle textures. "The Time Being" is propelled by a solid beat, a "sawing" electric guitar, and nice keyboard figures. "Leave Your Clothes On" has a wonderfully sardonic lyric underpinned by nice fuzz guitar work, heavy drums and a nice bass figure, along with an increasingly driving instrumental section at the end. "Cut In Two" is a heavy, driving, multi-layered composition full of interesting ideas and textures, including vocally. I have always felt that "The Myths You Made" (another fave of mine) would have fit very comfortably on Revolver, with its wonderfully Beatle-esque arrangement, including a slightly "off-key" guitar figure, Ringo-like drumming, and a chorus that sounds very reminiscent of "the boys." "Freeze To Burn" (another fave) has a wildly infectious beat (I dare you not to smile - and bop - when you hear it...), a fuzz-driven vocal, some wild guitar work, and a seriously crazy atmosphere. "Macabre Tavern" is a quasi-instrumental based around a repetitive bass figure, minimalist guitar and keyboards, and hallucinatory "lyrics." / Although it is really only six songs (the seventh one being hard to listen to too often), this is actually among my favorite Church discs.

Taken together, the sheer volume of great music on these discs makes "Sometime Anywhere" among The Church's greatest albums, and certainly among their most creative and listenable.

maani | 4/5 |


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