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The Church - Forget Yourself CD (album) cover


The Church


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3.89 | 29 ratings

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5 stars [Thirteenth in a series] (Note: Prior to releasing "Forget Yourself," The Church released a two-disc CD entitled "Parallel Universe." The first disc contains techno "remixes" of songs on "After Everything Now This," done by various people, and is, to my mind, unlistenable. However, the second disc contains six new songs from the AENT sessions, and is highly recommended.) / Although it is gratifying to see this album called "so different" and "the first album of the new millenium justified to have been recorded in it" (high praise indeed!), there is actually little on this album that was not presaged by "Hologram of Baal" and "After Everything Now This." That said, "Forget Yourself" IS an exceptional, immensely creative, virtually flawless album that shows yet again that The Church has become one of the chief standard-bearers of the prog-rock genre. / "Sealine" launches us immediately into a textured atmosphere as dense as anything the band has ever created, with fuzzed-out echo-guitars and treated drums, a radical chord progression (there are quite a few on the album), great guitar work, and a strong vocal from Kilbey, delivering yet another brilliant song-poem. "Song in Space" (a fave, with yet another amazing Kilbey song-poem) is a sound-filled composition full of retro-60s psychedelia, with hints of Beatles, Cream, and Moody Blues, filtered through the band's unique approach. "The Theater and Its Double" opens with one of the most wonderful guitar/drum beat figures the band has yet employed, moving into a quasi-arhythmic chorus section of arpeggiated guitar and breathy, hypnotic vocals, and ends with some great guitar work. "Telepath" opens with the band's most beautiful harmonies to date, moving into a nice arrangement of arpeggiated guitar, a nice drum figure, solid bass, and (need I say it?) yet another brilliant Kilbey song-poem, all surrounded in a dense atmosphere, especially in the middle and end sections. "See Your Lights" is a slight more straight-ahead light rocker propelled by dual guitars, solid drumming and bass work, and a truly neat guitar figure separating chorus from verse. "Lay Low" (another fave) opens with a bizarre keyboard, a neat guitar figure, and solid bass and drums, and quickly becomes one of the band's most compelling arrangements, with off-time drumming in the verses, stop-and-start vocals, and a powerful, sound-filled chorus that is uniquely The Church. "Maya" is a textured ballad, beautifully executed in a classic Church arrangement, with verses reminiscent of "Tranquility" (from "Hologram of Baal"). Recalling both "Louisiana" and "Buffalo" (from "Hologram of Baal"), "Appalatia" is a gorgeous arrangement (and another fave), and possibly Koppes' best work, including his strongest-ever vocal. "June" is a strange, almost solemn ballad with a straight-ahead approach. "Don't You Fall" - a nice, if mildly paranoid, light rocker - is a true Church original, harking back to their "Heyday" and "Starfish" period. With a similar opening figure to "Dome" (from "Priest=Aura"), "I Kept Everything" (yet another fave) has a fabulous Kilbey song-poem, supported by a beautiful arrangement of echo-guitar, great bass work, and heavily textured atmosphere. "Nothing Seeker" opens with powerful bass work, wild wah-wah guitar, heavy drumming and ultra-texture, and has a quick-stop chorus and a wild finish. "Reversal" (yup, another fave) has one of the band's best-ever textured arrangements, including a neat Beatle-esque bridge, and some of the best vocal textures the band has created. "Summer" (another ballad heavily reminiscent of "Tranquility") closes the first disc in true Church style with a beautiful, heavily textured, sound-filled arrangement, including an increasingly present grand piano. (Needless to say, as with any album containing heavily-textured music, this should be listened to first with headphones. And the first time it is played externally, it should be played loud.) / Not content to leave well enough alone (thank God!), The Church included a bonus disc featuring three additional compositions. It is in the first of these that the band does something truly extraordinary: they add to the lexicon of sound textures possible using standard instruments and studio tricks. With the 14-minute experimental instrumental, "Serpent Easy," the band proves that not every possible sound/texture has already been created and/or used by Pink Floyd, Moody Blues, Yes, Genesis et al. Opening with a "2001: A Space Odyssey"-type rumble, the band moves through a succession of sounds and textures that run the gamut from fairly ordinary to highly creative, to absolutely mind-blowing. (Note that I do not recommend listening to this while under the influence of any hallucinogenic substances!) "Cantilever" is an extended composition with a neat, quasi-experimental, sound-filled arrangement, plus a truly great Kilbey song-poem, delivered using some of the strangest vocal inflections he has ever used. "Moodertronic" is a respectful nod to Frippertronics, with a couple of repeating guitar figures, plus a lightly synth-textured, Eno-esque atmosphere. / Although I am not prepared to call this the definitive Church album - and, although I want to, I'm not going to suggest that the band won't ever be able to top it, since I've been wrong not twice but thrice in this regard - there is no question that the sheer creativity on "Forget Yourself" is phenomenal, that the album may in fact set a new bar for the band, and that it belongs in any important collection of prog-rock. (As an aside, has anyone considered what the "real" name of this album is? Also, any thoughts as to what all the phrases on the insert refer to?)
maani | 5/5 |


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