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The Church

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5 stars I've been waiting for the release of this album for a long time, since the previous studio effort gave me really good vibrations, being one of the best records they had released in a long time. And all I have to say after listening to this one is that this australian band has reached a stage in which probably(if everything goes fine) everything that they will release will contain almost no flaw. And "Uninvited like the clouds" is another example. If "Forget Yourself" was excellent this one is probably better. It is art rock in its best definition.

Probably some might argue about the fact that the band has introduced some musical elements from their past amongst their well known intricated, difficult and psydechelic current sound. For me this is not something neccesarily bad, since I also love their earlier albums. But if anyone thinks that you will find any insubstantial comercial pop track here, forget it. Completely.

Starting with "Block", we find another passage of the trademark 'talk-like' singing style from Steve Kilbey surrounded with another lush guitar atmosphere of those which the band has provided us along the years. It is somewhat similar to "Song in Space" from the previous record, but with a different turn. "Unified Field" brings us some memories from the "Remote Luxury" or "The Blurred Crusade" age, at least to me, but avoiding all the mistakes the band made in that years. After all, more than twenty years have passed and the band now knows what they are doing. Good backing vocal work from Wilson Piper here as well and excellent textures complete a strong song. "Space Needle" is probably one of the few flaws we can find here, although the main problem is the beginning, since the song gets strong as we go through it. Curious and witty lyrics by Kilbey can be found in this song as well. "Overview" is probably one of my favourites, and it contains quite an inusual guest star, the piano, scarcely present in any of The Church's records. Excellent work with distorted guitars and lush atmospheres as we can find in many of the songs. "Easy" is one of the songs reminiscent of their young days, with a subtle use of the mandoline, an instrument they liked to use in the late 80s (almost like anyone, by the way). "She'll come back for you tomorrow" is probably one of the best Wilson Piper's compositions from the recent years (since they had been a bit weak), with his vocals again in fine shape since this was not exactly the case in the two previous albums. "Pure Chance" is a revival psychedelic song with a compassed use of drums and surrounded with a melancholic atmosphere in general. "Never before" is Peter Koppes' adding to this record, and it also finds the australian musician in fine shape, since this elegant song almost compares itself with "Appalatia", for me the best Koppes' song ever found in a The Church record. "Real Toggle Action" gives us a curious turn with Steve Kilbey's bass being the main star here, which is not something usual. The psychedelic elements are quite obvious here as well. The textures and atmospheres here are quite well built. And now we arrive at the best song for me, "Untoward", the most atmospheric, elegant and genuine song from this band in probably more than a decade. Simply delicious. The guitars, the drums, vocals, everything is perfect in this gem. "Day 5" is again another melancholic and atmospheric song, almost mesmerizing, with an appropiate use of lush and subtle synthesizers teaming again with the always excellent guitar performance of both Wilson Piper and Koppes. "Song to go" reminds me of "Reversal", with its dreamy and unusual personality, also with another unusual protagonist: the accordion.

Then, I find that this band is one the most underrated bands of music history, not only in general terms but also here. I think that albums like this, which is a masterpiece, prove that this band deserves a clear opportunity for recognition. Highly recommeded

Report this review (#78251)
Posted Monday, May 15, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars After a hell of "The Church" albums I have reviewed, I can only say "Second verse, same as the first" (from the hilarious "Ramones" brothers). This album is just another carbon copy of many others.

By now, it sounds rather repetitive to say the least. Over twenty five years and a good chunk of releases to propose a new, yet old album is quite a disappointment. One could almost played their albums randomly without being able to determine which is the one played ? because they almost sound alike.

Not bad though, but so little creative by mow. Some good pop-rock items ("Unified Field") and a very thin relation to prog are the ingredients you can taste from "Uninvited?.". Same sort of inspiration, same sort of basic rock items ("Space Needle"), same sort of atmosphere, same of ? everything to be honest.

But after twenty five years, this sounds a bit too much and I can't be passionate about such a predictable album. Of course, this band is not the most sought on PA (only five reviews per album on average) and lots of readers might well ask themselves: "Who are these guys"?

Well, these guys were once quite creative but repeated the same recipe for ever and ever. Grab a lot of new wave sounds, mix them with some melancholic rock and duplicate. As much as you can. It worked for a while, including this album which is not bad at all to tell the truth.

Nothing revolutionary, nothing new. Same meal repeated. Still good but don't expect any outstanding track either. This is a good rock album. No more.

Report this review (#247191)
Posted Thursday, October 29, 2009 | Review Permalink

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