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The Church

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The Church Untitled #23 album cover
3.81 | 18 ratings | 4 reviews | 22% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 2009

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Cobalt Blue (4:15)
2. Deadman's Hand (4:28)
3. Pangaea (4:04)
4. Happenstance (4:24)
5. Space Saviour (5:34)
6. On Angel Street (6:18)
7. Sunken Sun (5:48)
8. Anchorage (6:27)
9. Lunar (3:25)
10. Operetta (5:45)

Total time 50:28

Line-up / Musicians

- Steve Kilbey / lead vocals, bass, keyboards, guitar
- Marty Willson-Piper / guitar, bass, backing vocals
- Peter Koppes / guitar, keyboards, bass, backing vocals
- Tim Powles/ drums, percussion, backing vocals

- Frank Kearns / 12-string guitar (2), guitar (10)
- David Trump / Electone organ (3), acoustic guitar (10)
- Jorden Brebach / guitar (7)
- Patti Hood / harp (3)
- Sophie Glasson / cello (3,8)
- Shelley Harland / backing vocals (8)

Releases information

Artwork: Rachel Gutek, Tiare Helberg

CD Unorthodox ‎- UNO 004 (2009, Australia)

2xLP Second Motion Records ‎- LP-SMR-012 (2009, US) With 3 bonus tracks

Thanks to progshine for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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THE CHURCH Untitled #23 ratings distribution

(18 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of rock music(22%)
Excellent addition to any rock music collection(61%)
Good, but non-essential (17%)
Collectors/fans only (0%)
Poor. Only for completionists (0%)

THE CHURCH Untitled #23 reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by maani
4 stars As the unofficial archivist of The Church here at ProgArchives, I felt it incumbent upon me to offer the first review of their latest album.

Having followed up their 2003 masterpiece, Forget Yourself, with the inventive 2006 release, Uninvited Like the Clouds, The Church proved that they could remain compelling even after reaching the pinnacle of their powers. This is due not least to the fact that they have not just established themselves as solid leaders in current progressive music, but also because they have created a style that is uniquely their own. Yes, there are influences (Floyd, Moodies, U2, 60s psychedelic rock et al). But they filter those influences so successfully that the result is entirely original ? a unique blend that remains interesting, even captivating.

Their newest release, Untitled #23, once again proves just how creative this band can be. It is an album that seems simple at first. But that?s only because there are so many subtleties that it is impossible to take them all in on the first listening. There is nothing earth-shattering here; they are not breaking any new ground. But what they HAVE done is create an incredibly dense sonic stew that is nothing short of remarkable.

There are also no rockers here: the album is mostly relaxed (for them), though it maintains the lush atmospheres, superb arrangements, broad instrumentation, and, of course, those unique Steve Kilbey talk-sung story-poems.

In fact, the best word to describe this album is: dreamy. There is a truly psychedelic, even trippy quality to most of the compositions here ? even more trippy than the band usually gets. In fact, if there is one new influence to add, it is: The Beatles (particularly Lennon). The influence is subtle, and perhaps not even deliberate. But it pervades much of the album. In fact, this album could be seen as what The Beatles might have produced if they had continued down the road of I Am the Walrus, It?s All Too Much, and other Pepper/MMT/YS-era psychedelia, moving toward a more progressive, experimental, even edgy approach.

Indeed, the opening song, Cobalt Blue, is a dreamy (and borderline paranoid) Beatle/Lennon-esque affair, complete with calliopes and lots of special effects, including background talking, etc. Deadman?s Hand finds the band in classic form, and is pure Church. Pangaea is a sweet, dreamy ballad with a quasi-Beatle-esque chorus. Happenstance is similar, though with something of an edge. Space Savior is one of the band?s weirder compositions, somewhat U2-ish, but with an aggressive, insistent monotone delivery that grabs you and does not let go.

The second half of the album is even more bizarre and progressive than the first. On Angel Street is an eerie, minimalist, plaintive composition with a truly strange keyboard figure. Sunken Sun is another dreamy ballad with an edge. Anchorage comes off like an angry, paranoid Dylan with a Bowie-ish chorus. Lunar is a short, intense piece that is simply unclassifiable. Operetta brings us full circle, back to an anthemic, Beatle-esque (if somewhat eerie) approach, complete with subtle trumpet.

There is no question that, on the whole, Untitled #23 is somewhat more?dangerous than most of the band?s previous work. It is edgier (even when it is beautiful), and perhaps even a bit more experimental (in some cases). But it is unquestionably The Church. And that can only be a good thing.

Review by Gooner
4 stars The Church could be my favourite hit and miss band. When they really hit, they're amazing. When they miss, they still tend to do something interesting. _Untitled #23_ is no exception. One thing is for sure, they've left the '80s New Wave scene behind(not sure if they were New Wave to begin with, but they tend to get lumped in with the '80s due to their one hit wonder _Under The Milky Way_, which was an acoustic number). This, _Untitled #23_(which, in fact , gives it a title - so says Steven Kilby), I would consider their strongest effort since _Hologram Of Baal_ from 1998. One of the best tracks is _Happenstance_. Very spacy with a slide guitar that sounds like glissando guitar from Peter Koppes.. Steven Kilby delivers a great vocal. _Happenstance_ should be an alternative hit...or at least be recognized as a prog.pop masterpiece. _Pangaea_ is similar. Other great tracks have a tendency to be Floyd-y sounding(Saucerful Of Secrets/Atom Heart Mother-era). The track _Lunar_ starts out with a keyboard/flute which may be a mellotron. Generally, I can tell the difference, but with this one I cannot. _Lunar_ sounds like something that should be on Pink Floyd's _Meddle_ album, save the vocals of Steven Kilby which give it that distinct The Church feeling. _Operetta_ has to be their strongest stab at prog.rock since their classic track _The Great Machine_ from Hologram Of Baal with gorgeous piano, subdued french horn and the spacy keyboards). In short, if you enjoyed The Church's HOLOGRAM of BAAL, you can't go wrong with _Untitled #23_. Honourable mention and kudos should go out to Marty Wilson-Piper once again for great guitar work(as well as Peter Koppes...The Church's secret weapon).
Review by ZowieZiggy
3 stars As usual, "The Church" deliver a good album full of sad and melancholic music. The time is of course not for a revolutionary album, which this one isn't. A normal follow-up to their numerous works. One of many should I say.

Most of the songs are on an atmospheric and uniform mood. Some tracks though do speak more to me than other ones like "Space Saviour" for instance. But globally, I can't really highlight lots of songs from this offering. It is a combo of pleasant tracks but some flaws are also available. The long and monotonous "On Angel Street" is probably the weakest featured on this work.

Again, to listen to this album doesn't do any harm, with several song on the melodic side ("Sunken Sun") but I am still circumspect about their ability to generate passion and enthusiasm. Not mine that's for sure.

I can't see a major change in their musical direction throughout the years. Definitely not with this last album to date. Some fifty minutes of good melancholia.

Three stars.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
4 stars A long-time fan of Steve Kilby's close-to-being-prog band The Church has led me to listen to their albums through the years with interest and enjoyment. There is a pleasant sound that has been consistently at the core of all Church albums (guitar, subdued pace, atmospheric, good lyrics, and an awesome lead vocalist)--and this album is another in that string--maybe my favorite since Priest=Aura--though I do love Uninvited, Like the Clouds.

Five star songs: 6. "On Angel Street" (6:18) (10/10), the "Don't Fear the Reaper"-like 2. "Deadman's Hand" (4:28) (9/10); the Leonard Cohen-like 4. "Happenstance" (4:24) (9/10);

Four star songs: 3. "Pangaea" (4:04) (8/10); 1. "Cobalt Blue" (8/10); the Italian John Lennon-like 7. "Sunken Sun" (5:48) (8/10), and; the incredibly emotional, 10. "Operetta" (5:45) (8/10).

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