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The Church - Heyday CD (album) cover

HEYDAY

The Church

 

Prog Related

3.07 | 17 ratings

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maani
Special Collaborator
Founding Moderator
4 stars [Fifth in a series] "Heyday" finds the band abandoning the straight-rock approach and again experimenting (mostly successfully) with their budding progressive sensibilities. From the opening measures of "Myrrh," the band incorporates all the elements that gave "Seance" such a different focus. Here is the lush, expansive atmosphere, the textured guitars and keyboards, the non-standard chord progressions, and most of all the confidence that their previous album ("Remote Luxury") clearly lacked. Slightly more straightforward, "Tristesse" is a nice love song with an interesting retro-60s sound. "Already Yesterday" is a strange concoction that almost defies categorization. Part retro-60s, part 80s pop, it does make interesting use of a vocoder. Their first (unexpected) hit - "Columbus" - is a Moody Blues-ish composition, with a wonderful mid-break full of syncopated percussion and guitar. "Happy Hunting Ground" is the band's second effort at keeping the "instrumental" alive in rock, and succeeds beautifully. Supported by a quasi-Native American rhythm, the bass and guitar play off each other for a while, after which the rhythm takes prominence, accompanied by violin, tremolo guitar, and a tasteful keyboard figure. (It is my second favorite Church instrumental.) You can tell that "As You Will" was not on the original album, as the "sound" is noticeably different: less "expansive," more high-ended, less progressive, less satisfying. "Tantalized," on the other hand, brings us back to the original album with a "punch": an expansive atmosphere filled with a heavy, propulsive beat, great guitar work from Koppes, Beatle-esque horns, great keyboards, an off-time chorus, and a wild break. Along with "Myrrh," my fave on the album. "Disenchanted" is a slightly Bowie-ish composition, combining all the elements now becoming standard in the The Church "sound," while giving a nod to their former sound. And the band is clearly having fun with it. "Night of Light" is a combination of Moody Blues and XTC, filtered through the band's increasingly unique sensibilities. "Youth Worshipper," the weakest track on the album, is an uneven amalgam of standard and non-standard approaches. Despite a promising opening, "Roman" (the last track on the original album) is also slightly weak. "The View" (originally the B side of "Tantalized") is a strange quasi-progressive pop song in a slight "Revolver" vein. "Trance Endings" is both pleasant and, ultimately, forward-looking with regard to the band's progression. Overall, after the misstep of "Remote Luxury," the band is coming closer to being fully "progressive," having chosen to abandon any pretense of deliberate "hit-making" in order to find the progressive voice they know is there.
maani | 4/5 |

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