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SOMETIME ANYWHERE

The Church

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maani
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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.

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Send comments to maani (BETA) | Report this review (#20)
Posted Sunday, February 22, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars It was clear that after the overwhelming artistical sucess that The Church achieved with "Priest=Aura", repeating the story would be indeed a difficult task. However, they managed to make a worthy and solid continuation to their previous work.

"Sometime Anywhere" was an exploration of the experimental, dark and progressive background they seemed to have found. The album is quite varied and, in certain ocassions, quite exotic. There are pieces of the mesmerizing a subtle atmosphere seen so many times with this band. The best example of this is "Loveblind", a simply delicious song. There are pieces of the previously mentioned experimental work, like in "Lost my touch" or (specially) in "Angelica", a song that mixes technoid phases with violins and folklorical sounds (what the heck?). There are also instrumentals, like "Eastern", which gives the exotic and folkloric touch to the album. And finally we have classic and typical Church masterpieces like "Authority" and "Dead Man's Dream" (my favourite song from the album)

It is also remarkable that Marty Wilson Piper has kind of protagonism here, appearing in quite of the vocals, often mixed with Kilbey's, giving a quite interestng result that unfortunately they have not tried again.

So, although this album is less straightforward and a bit 'more difficult' than the previous one, is another effort that should checked out.

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Send comments to shyman (BETA) | Report this review (#53703)
Posted Friday, October 28, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Shortly after buying this CD, I learned there was a limited edition double CD release and sought it out. It was well worth the shopping. This release took me quite by surprise after I had owned nothing but "Priest=Aura" for nearly two years. The range and scope of the songs on this CD (and its brief bonus CD "Somewhere Else") is nothing short of astounding. There needs to be a "*" next to the title of this CD, as it was the only one that Peter Koppes (original member and one of two guitarists) didn't have a hand in. Thankfully, he returned on the next CD ("Magician Among the Spirits") to stay.

So this effort fell mostly on the shoulders of Steven Kilbey and Marty Wilsson-Piper with an array of guest musicians filling out the roster. And what a marvellous job Steve and Marty pulled off. The opening sequence on "Day of the Dead" is pure psychedelia and a number to turn way up loud. The Church rarely rock hard, but this song is one that begs to be blasted. The bass guitar propels this song, while Marty wails away like a madman on the effects pedals.

"Lost My Touch" features a sort of "sing-speak" that is laced with slang that is truly imaginative "...finito Benito, dead Fred....gone for a song like old Hong Kong, gone for a song." This lyric is embedded in a tapestery that shows the band's appreciation of Pink Floyd, and could stand out as a truly "prog" wunderkind.

"My Little Problem" is an interesting foray into the world of a shamed but self-dignified cross-dresser. Kilbey sings of his character's showcasing his procilivty to dress in women's clothes as something that sets him apart from society, yet gives him a kind of release that no one but another cross-dresser ("I heard the top guy won't answer his phone, maybe he's got a little problem of his own") can relate to. A lilting piano graces the jangling guitar lines of this emotional ballad.

"Lullaby" is an outsider's take on the birth of Christ as viewed by one of the three wise men, with a modern twist to the viewpoint. This clarifies that Kilbey is not above taking shots at traditional Christian viewpoints, but his notion seems to expand on them and not to tear them down.

"Fly Home" showcases the guitar work and lead vocal prowess of Marty Wilsson-Piper. This is a definite rock showcase with some classic rock hooks.

"Business Woman" and "Authority" seem to touch on parallel themes: those of women and their empowering in the business world, both showing an appreciation and even a fascination for what a woman "in power" can get for herself. I read somewhere that these songs were kept by Arista Records against the bands wishes over other track(s) - possibly on the bonnus CD - because they were too "accessible", but these songs do work. This meddling, I'm sure, is part of what caused the band to form their own Thirsty Ear Records after the release of "Sometime Anywhere".

Overall a superb effort, and I would even go so far as to say a "rock masterpiece" for the number of styles and themes this ambitious relase touches on.

4.5 stars.

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Send comments to beebs (BETA) | Report this review (#130715)
Posted Sunday, July 29, 2007 | Review Permalink
ZowieZiggy
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2 stars If you would except some very, very rare releases: I have never been exhilarating about ultra long albums. Even magical items as "The Lamb" or "Tales" shown some limits (and I'm not even writing about countless efforts) in terms of consistency throughout their lengths.

I'm afraid that this "Sometime Anywhere" doesn't fulfil its purpose. "The Church" has been moderately moving in terms of music as far as I'm concerned: a very fresh debut and some good albums, but really nothing to write home about.

This one isn't any major improvement to tell the truth. On the contrary, it sounds repetitive, bargained to (again) The Bunnymen, and little expressive. Languishing and basic rock tunes for about eighty minutes: that's quite a (boring) ride for sure.

This album conveys quite a dull feel ("Loveblind") and it is quite an effort to listen to this album from A to Z here. If I ever live up to eighty, I will have spent almost 1/270.000 of my lifetime to have listened to this work (I did it twice). I'm not sure that it was the most effective minutes of my life!

This is a rather average record to remain polite. The ability of the band to bring some fantasy into their music seems all gone. What's left is just repeated stuff which is far from being exciting. Where are those glorious new wave days (even if not popular on this site)?

Most of the songs are too long and offer very little to grab. Monotonous, little inspired, passionless: in a word somewhat useless unfortunately. Most of them do need the "press next" exercise to tell the truth. "The Maven" is only existing thanks to the great guitar break which closes the song.

I'm not telling that this album is absolute crap because there are still good moments available, but gosh! While "Angelica" is being performed the next thing you want to do is the definite "press next" thing for sure. The nadir of this album and probably of their whole career.

It is amazing how prolific one can write about such an average album. It is often more difficult to express your love for a dear and fabulous album, which is absolutely not the case here. As far as I'm concerned, this is the weakest "Church" album so far (and I have reviewed most of them in the chronological order as usual).

You can better skip this album from your concern. Not only won't you spend your money in a useless item but as I have said, it is also quite time consuming. Only "Eastern" is worth, thanks to a great violin paly.

If you would like to discover some great new wave bands who played violins, I just can recommend the fabulous "Doctor Of Madness". But this album is just shy of this great band. Some sort of sub-par "Lou Reed" or "Cockney Rebel" (some other great bands by the way), can be discovered during "Two Place At Once".

I will be quite generous with this album from "The Church": two stars. Which means: below average. Not any song that is kicking, not any song that is performing. Nothing really interesting to be honest.

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Send comments to ZowieZiggy (BETA) | Report this review (#241669)
Posted Saturday, September 26, 2009 | Review Permalink

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