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The Church - Starfish CD (album) cover


The Church


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3.41 | 46 ratings

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4 stars [Sixth in a series] After taking an almost three-year hiatus, The Church returned with an album that shows just how comfortable they had become with their progressive sensibilities (as well as providing a vehicle for Kilbey's increasingly poetic lyrics). "Destination" begins the journey with the most musically "thoughtful" composition they had so far produced. It is a beautifully constructed piece containing a deceptively simple, but effective, arrangement (including a surprising, almost "empty" pre-chorus, showing their increasing comfort with "space"), and their most maturely textured sound so far. Their second (unexpected, runaway) hit - "Under the Milky Way" - contains some of their developing "trademarks," including a crisp acoustic guitar, a simple, haunting keyboard figure, and a lush, expansive atmosphere. "Blood Money" has a more straightforward feel, but retains most of the elements that the band was beginning to incorporate as part of its now-almost-fully-developed "sound." Although seemingly way-simple, "Lost" is a very good example of the sound and approach that would "mark" The Church's style (especially on "Holograms of Baal"). "North, South, East and West" is another excellent example of the kind of expansive atmosphere, guitar figures and arrangement that would come to dominate - indeed, define - the band's sound. "Spark," a throw-back to the band's earlier sound (rock-y, pop-ish), is interesting, even captivating, in its own way. "Antenna" brings us back to the band's new sensibilities, this time with a wonderful rhythm guitar figure, a tight arrangement, and that now-trademark lush, expansive atmosphere. Along with "Destination," my fave on the album. "Reptile" is more straightforward, though it maintains many of the elements now associated with the band's approach. "A New Season" seems to be an idea that didn't quite cohere, and is the album's "weak link." "Hotel Womb" ends the album on an appropriate (if somewhat melancholy) note. All the requisite elements are here, though assembled in a slightly different way. Indeed, it provides an almost perfect transition from this album to the next: it could just as appropriately have served as the opening song on "Gold Afternoon Fix."
maani | 4/5 |


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