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The Church - Forget Yourself CD (album) cover


The Church

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5 stars Forget everything that has gone before, it has gone.This is the first album of this new millenium (remember that!) justified to have been recorded in it. From the opening moments of C-Line 'til the last vibrations of Summer the Church have crafted an album of incredible raw, broad-stroked beauty that is unchallenged. No-one has visited this part of the possibilities of music before and these guys have waded into it like they own the place. Actually they do own it, they invented the space. Do not get me wrong, this is still the Church, but you are going to have your idea's about them challenged deeply.

The album strides in with C-Line which is their best opening track ever. It is going to blow the wax out of your ears. Those who heard this at the gigs will be delighted to know it is as raw on CD as it was live, none of that chemistry is missing. The overall feel of most of this album is fresh and alive, the production is spacious enough to allow freedom of sound. Some of these sound like one take recordings.

Song in Space is such a buzzzzz although most will know this by now. Just buy the single! The Theatre and its Double sounds like a krautrock trip-out, adventurous and inspiring. Telepath is the Church's greatest song ever, I cannot shake it out of my head, it just keeps returning as I'm walking, sitting, standing wherever, whatever. I cannot wait to hear others views on this. See Your Lights swaggers like the coolest [%*!#]er on or off the planet and Don't You Fall left me reeling; this has got to be a single!

Appalatia was a revelation for me as I had missed the warm up gig and hence the song. It is Peter's best track since A New Season and it is aural gold. There is another song I cannot remember the title of that has a bit of pitch-shift vocals and is without a doubt the strangest track the Church has ever recorded. I'll leave you to hear it for yourself.

This will be the Church's greatest release and I haven't even given away the plot yet. I managed not to mention Maya but I want to. It may be in the top 5 Church songs ever recorded. I hope this comes out soon.

Summer is the song to end all Church albums and and they are going to have to work like [%*!#] to follow up this.

All Killa, no Filla! This is an uplifting, hopeful and visionary album that will eventually down the anals of time be recognised as such. It is also in parts an intensely peaceful album. The guitars are raw and alert, the patterns of rhythm astounding and I do not think Kilbey has ever been in better voice.

Report this review (#27)
Posted Monday, February 2, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars I got mine yesterday..a grey and rainy evening. Now, I had taken all of these tremedous reviews trickling in since October about how incredible this album was with an extra large grain of salt. I mean, come on now, best album so far of the 21st century?? These church fans probably are like myself and would think steve kilbey burping into a microphone would sound great. So I set the bar low and tried to prepare myself for initial disappointment. There is no way it could live up to these reviews and also having to be the follow up album to AENT?

AND...and....holy crap this album is amazing. Unlike any other Church CD, this one had me at hello. No further listening was required for my assesment that it was amazing - just one listen. As I drove along with the music blaring, for the first time ever while listening to a new Church CD, I had an urge to press the replay button before hearing the next song. That's how much the songs grabbed a hold of me. I really can not fathom how they could have made an album so different, so good, yet still the Church at this point in their career. I am simply blown away. Highlights: Telepath, Theatre and Its Double, Telepath, and June

Report this review (#27030)
Posted Monday, February 2, 2004 | Review Permalink
5 stars This album is a great listen, and only gets better with additional listens. Psychedelic and swirling sounds, vivid lyrical imagery and memorable songs make this great. The band's artistic vision & creative forces have never been stronger and this easily compares to any of their best albums from their supposed 'heyday' era. Daniel
Report this review (#27032)
Posted Wednesday, February 18, 2004 | Review Permalink
Founding Moderator
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?)
Report this review (#28)
Posted Wednesday, March 3, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars Australia's finest return from a three-year absence with their 17th full length (including several 2xCD sets) which picks up with the same amazingly high quality as After Everything, Now This. Marty Willson-Piper and Peter Koppes' guitar duels are as majestic as ever and the balls-grabbing opener ("Sealine") will make you immediately prick up your ears and pay attention. "Song In Space" features their wall-of-guitars sonic assault a la The Chameleons and Echo & The Bunnymen, and after 25 years, the lads can still find new ways to amaze us with such effective little flourishes as the brutal Spanish guitar solo ending "The Theatre and Its Double" and the exquisite, I-never-knew-they-had-it-in-them Beach Boys' harmonies opening "Telepath."

Other Church trademarks we've come to expect and enjoy are Steven Kilbey's meaninglessly enigmatic lyrics, sung with the conviction of someone whose life depended on every word, and their signature floating, spacey ballads ("Maya," "Summer"). Kilbey hands the mic over to Koppes for the soft, easy-listening pop gem, "Appalatia," and the swaying, hook-y grooves of the atmospheric, psychedelic trilogy, "June," "Don't You Fall," and "I Kept Everything" are perhaps the closest to the band's Heyday (pun intended). Another favorite is the aforementioned 7-minute closer, "Summer," a particularly soft-cushioned landing where you can, indeed, sit back, close your eyes, drift away and Forget Yourself.

Don't go too far, though, as you won't want to miss the pleasures tucked away inside the 3-track, half-hour bonus EP. Opening with the ambient, cinematmospheric, fifteen-minute epic, "Serpent Easy," a 21st century version of The Cure's "Carnage Visors" and a classic example of a soundtrack in search of a film, the band seque into the punny, alphabetical exercise "Cantilever" [read "Can't I Leave Her?"], which sounds like a U2 outtake, complete with Kilbey's pretentious Boner posturing. The third track, "Moodertronic" is a ruminating, acoustic guitar solo (think "Fripp"ertronics on 'ludes), which reminds me of the intro to The Blurred Crusade's "Just For You" expanded to a luxurious four minutes.

Report this review (#27031)
Posted Sunday, March 28, 2004 | Review Permalink
4 stars After the quite nice and more acoustic album After Everything Now This in 2002 this legendary and much underrated australian band is releasing with their 17th album Forget Yourself their best album ever. In contrast to every other band that started in the 80's these guys were not deteriorating on their CDs over the years and decades but instead becoming better and better. With this album they would actually deserve to be accepted as an important band in progressive psychedelic Rock.

THE CHURCH have been releasing consistently solid albums over a period of more than 20 years without ever gaining the attention and success they would have deserved and did their music during all this time exclusively for their own and their die-hard fans. One of the reasons for this could be the fact that their music does not fit properly in any preformed category making it maybe really progressive in a literal sense in some way. On the other hand their music sounded on most of their albums in the past always more like 80's Indie Rock merged with some floydian space elements. Usually when I'm listening to some previous albums of them bands like Jesus And Mary Chain, Echo & The Bunnymen, The Verve or U 2 are coming immediately to my mind since their music is as well very much guitar dominated. But these are just my own thoughts and they don't have to be correct necessarily.

Coming back to the main topic that is Forget Yourself: The songs on this album actually were recorded during "live" studio sessions and one can easily hear this. They are sounding rough in some way and much more powerful than on any previous album, almost like they would have had some rejuvenation or would have taken some "magic potion". The first song Seaside is showing clearly that the sound has changed compared to previous albums. We hear a heavy bassline, distorted guitar licks by Willson-Piper and of course Kilbey's vocals stronger than ever in the focus of everything. Song In Space is another very strong track, which sounds really spacey with guitar melodies floating high above the ethereal vocals, bass and cymbals. The Theatre And Its Double and Telepath continue in the same vein, real great Space Rock indeed. See Your Lights reminds a bit to their earlier stuff, but sounds much heavier and more "up-to-date" and Kilbey's sardonic vocals sound better than ever. Lay Low has quite a strong industrial goth rock feeling and it's again a very strong track. Actually on the whole album there is only one track which is a bit weaker than the rest, that is Reversal. The use of vocoders sounds too much "forced" to me and too "popular" since this effect has been used already extensively in pop songs.

As a CONCLUSION I'd like to say that Forget Yourself is for sure the best album THE CHURCH ever released, although I'm hesitating a bit to call it a masterpiece in Prog. Unfortunately the band is in some way in a very unlucky situation. They neither succeeded ever in the Prog genre, probably because their music has a too strong Indie Rock character, nor will they harvest any appreciation even with this very good record in the over-saturated (with crap of Spears and the alikes) Pop Rock market since for this they are simply too good. Without any doubt this one deserves 4 stars.

Report this review (#27033)
Posted Saturday, February 5, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Over a decade after the release of their second masterpiece for me, the third one comes into scene. And I really mean it. This album is completely, absolutely and totally flawless. When you listen this record you can see that any sign of possible doubts that this band could have ever had are completely gone.

The basics for the structural and artistical dimensions could have been set in their previous effort, "After Everything now this", but in this case the result has an improved energy that may have lacked in some sense in the previous album, which was still a solid one. In this record you can find everything that has made this band great, at least for me. You have an splendid intro song "Sealine", which is one of my favourite vocal compositions from Steve Kilbey. You have retro-reminiscent pieces with solid guitar work, like in "Song in space", great rockers like "See your lights" (again, good Wilson-Piper's vocal work here, the guitars are strong here too). We can find as well magnificent melodic ballads like "Appalatia" (probably, along with "Reversal", my favourite song from the album and, like maani metioned, the best Koppes' work with no discussion). There are also place for Church trademark songs like "Don't you fall" and "I Kept Everything" (another good one). And, as something relatively new, we can find a piece of neo-psychedelic atmospheric work in "Reversal", absolutely a perfect song.

In short terms, for me in the 80s it was "Heyday", in the 90s it was "Priest=Aura" and now "Forget Yourself" make a list of my favourite Church albums. This one is a forced one to get.

Report this review (#54659)
Posted Friday, November 4, 2005 | Review Permalink
2 stars I knew the band by name, remembered watching some video clips of them in the early eighties and had forgotten them since. Very recently I read a very positive post about them on this site, subsequently checked the list of their albums and noticed that "Forget Yourself" had a very enthusiastic 5 stars rating.

As a result, I decided to purchase the album and listened to it a couple of times. I must confess that I found myself more then a bit disappointed!

This album is much more New Wave than prog related. Not that the music is bad in itself but there is nothing that characterizes, IMHO, progressiveness. The rythms are mainly binary, the voices tones are closer to those of bands like "The Cure" or "The Opposition". Do not expect keyboard waves or haunting guitars, nor any sort of epics. Do not even expect appealing moments or anything that would make you think: "hey! that's nice"!

As a conclusion from an old progger (53 years old) owning more than 500 records quoted in this site, I do not understand how such an album may deserve 5 stars and hence become "a masterpiece of progressive music essential to any collection" unless Yes and The Mars Volta (to quote two very different bands in time and genre) deserve 25 stars. This is most probably a good album for fans of "The Church" but certainly not for prog fans.

Report this review (#87207)
Posted Monday, August 14, 2006 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
3 stars 3.5 stars.THE CHURCH are a band I knew about in the eighties but I didn't actually own any of their records until I got this one. There is a psychedelic and dreamy element to the music throughout this album, and the vocals really remind me of Bono at times.

I like the first track "Sealine" quite a bit but admit those Bono-like vocals are hard to get past. Great music though, I really like the raw sounding guitar and the beat. "Song In Space" is sort of spaced out for the most part. Quite psychedelic. "The Theater And It's Double" is the best one yet. I like the jangly guitars and the vocals sound better to me. It calms right down a minute in. Contrasts continue. Check out the guitar 3 1/2 minutes in. "Telepath" opens with harmonies almost sounding like the BEACH BOYS before it settles in. I like the sections where they get more aggressive. "See Your Lights" opens with picked guitar before it kicks in with almost whispered vocals. Some nice bass in this one. "Lay Low" is haunting to open as bass then this psychedelic mood comes in. A heavy beat follows then it gets spacey as vocals arrive. Cool tune. One of my favs.

"Maya" is a mellow tune that's well done. Some orchestral stuff too. "Appalatia" is a top three track. It reminds me of another band i can't think of. Kind of dreamy with some nice guitar at times. "June" has this steady beat with synths and vocals. I like it. "Don't You Fall" has some good harmonies and guitar in it. A top three for me. "I Kept Everything" is a psychedelic tune that's fairly slow paced until it picks up after 2 minutes briefly. "Nothing Seeker" has these deep bass sounds with spacey ones playing over top. A beat comes in then vocals join in.The spacey sounds continue. Good tune. "Reversal" has higher pitched vocals and lots of spacey sounds. A beat comes in. Very psychedelic. "Summer" is a dreamy tune with reserved vocals. It's all pretty slow paced throughout.

I've listened to this many times but to me it's not worth 4 stars. Good album though and I will be checking out more of their recordings.

Report this review (#96021)
Posted Friday, October 27, 2006 | Review Permalink
3 stars This is now my fourteenth review from this band, and the music played during all these years (twenty two) has not changed very much. Album after album, the same sort of experience is on the rendezvous.

Nothing wrong, but nothing passionate either. The band also feels obliged to release quite long albums (over an hour for this one). It is fine when the music sounds fresh and inventive, but when it is repetitive, with little emotion, average song writing as well as sub-par melodies it IS very, very long indeed.

I won't describe a track by track review since this would be a carbon copy of preview reviews, always mentioning the same sort of influences or genre, absence of feeling and an overall (too) melancholic impression.

In all, this album is not a bad one; only inoffensive (although "Appalatia" is quite weak) and I rate it with three stars. This is an album to listen to while having a good glass of wine in front of your chimney during a quite autumn evening? Nothing wrong, but nothing passionate as I told you already.

Report this review (#246122)
Posted Saturday, October 24, 2009 | Review Permalink
3 stars The Church got their pinpoint with the song "Under the Milky Way", from that moment they acquired a moderate fame and their music tended to be more commercial. Yet, they started to change their music and make it more serious... less commercial. After a long discography, we arrive to "Forget Yourself" , a long album full of calm music, with little variation from one song to the next, some of them much calmer than others. The album is really good, if you are a person who like listening to quiet and ambient music such as No Man, Nosound, quiet Porcupine Tree, or even U2; The Church is not mainstream, but the music is really accessible to everybody. Give it a try, just be ready to hear music that does not have much variation!
Report this review (#1025156)
Posted Wednesday, August 28, 2013 | Review Permalink

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