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THE CHURCH

Prog Related • Australia


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The Church biography
THE CHURCH was formed in 1980 by lyricist/songwriter Steve KILBEY (bass, vocals, keyboards), Peter KOPPES (guitar, vocals, keyboards), Marty WILLSON-PIPER (guitars, vocals) and Nick WARD (drums). Richard PLOOG replaced WARD in 1983, and remained with the band until 1991. After quickly going through a couple more drummers, Tim POWLES took over in 1996 and has remained with the band.

THE CHURCH has gone through a few "periods," the first of which found them channeling their earliest musical influences, including The PRETENDERS and U2 (with both of whom they were contemporaneous), as well as The POLICE and David BOWIE (and a bit of The BEATLES). Once they found their voice (on their breakthrough third album, "Sťance"), they also incorporated "newer" influences, including PINK FLOYD and The MOODY BLUES. THE CHURCH's sound eventually developed into lush, heavily-textured atmospheres surrounding a combination of jangly, often arpeggiated guitar work; tasteful, sometimes "symphonic" keyboard figures; compelling, often syncopated drum and/or percussion rhythms; and occasional appropriate use of non-standard instrumentation (e.g., violin), all supporting KILBEY's unique talk-singing vocals. And although it is often difficult (deliberately?) to make out the lyrics, it is worth the effort, as KILBEY stands comfortably alongside DYLAN and MORRISON as one of rock's great poets.

THE CHURCH had their first radio play in 1985 with "Columbus" (from "Heyday"), but did not gain international attention until 1988 with "Under the Milky Way" (from "Starfish"). Among THE CHURCH's most important works are "Sťance", "Priest=Aura" (their second breakthrough album, and arguably their "Sgt. Pepper"), "Sometime Anywhere" (their "Magical Mystery Tour"?), "Hologram of Baal" and "After Everything Now This", the latter of which proves, 20 years after their debut, that the band remains mature and focused, and shows no signs of flagging in their unrelenting creativity.
- Ian Alterman

The Church official website

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THE CHURCH shows & tickets


  • The Church at Rio Theatre, Vancouver on 21 Feb 2015
  • The Church at Triple Door, Seattle on 23 Feb 2015
  • The Church at Triple Door, Seattle on 24 Feb 2015
  • The Church at The Chapel, San Francisco on 26 Feb 2015
  • The Church at El Rey Theatre, Los Angeles on 27 Feb 2015
  • The Church at The Casbah, San Diego on 28 Feb 2015
  • The Church at Belly Up Aspen, Aspen, CO on 2 Mar 2015
  • The Church at Gothic Theatre, Englewood on 3 Mar 2015
  • The Church at Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis on 5 Mar 2015
  • The Church at Double Door, Chicago on 6 Mar 2015
  • The Church at Grog Shop, Cleveland Heights, OH on 7 Mar 2015
  • The Church at 9:30 Club, Washington DC on 9 Mar 2015
  • The Church at World Cafe Live, Philadelphia on 10 Mar 2015
  • The Church at The Sinclair, Cambridge, MA on 12 Mar 2015
  • The Church at Bowery Ballroom, New York on 13 Mar 2015
  • The Church at Rough Trade NYC, Brooklyn on 14 Mar 2015
  • The Church at Cat's Cradle, Carrboro on 15 Mar 2015
  • The Church at Terminal West, Atlanta on 17 Mar 2015
  • SXSW Music 2015 on 17 Mar 2015

THE CHURCH discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

THE CHURCH top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.03 | 15 ratings
Of Skins And Heart
1981
3.04 | 18 ratings
The Blurred Crusade
1982
3.00 | 6 ratings
The Church
1982
3.71 | 16 ratings
Seance
1983
2.60 | 11 ratings
Remote Luxury
1984
3.08 | 18 ratings
Heyday
1985
3.36 | 32 ratings
Starfish
1988
2.88 | 22 ratings
Gold Afternoon Fix
1990
2.93 | 6 ratings
A Quick Smoke At Spot's
1991
4.00 | 31 ratings
Priest = Aura
1992
3.34 | 14 ratings
Sometime Anywhere
1994
3.47 | 14 ratings
Magician Among The Spirits
1996
3.89 | 16 ratings
Hologram Of Baal
1998
3.09 | 9 ratings
A Box Of Birds
1999
3.86 | 7 ratings
Magician Among The Spirits Plus Some
1999
3.15 | 12 ratings
After Everything Now This
2001
3.92 | 23 ratings
Forget Yourself
2003
2.57 | 9 ratings
El Momento Descuidado
2004
2.50 | 4 ratings
Back With Two Beasts
2005
3.63 | 15 ratings
Uninvited Like The Clouds
2006
3.00 | 4 ratings
El Momento Siguente
2007
3.00 | 4 ratings
Shriek: Excerpts From the Soundtrack
2009
3.70 | 14 ratings
Untitled #23
2009
2.62 | 4 ratings
Further/Deeper
2014

THE CHURCH Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.50 | 2 ratings
A Psychedelic Symphony
2014

THE CHURCH Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

4.00 | 1 ratings
A Psychedelic Symphony
2014

THE CHURCH Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 1 ratings
Hindsight 1980-1987
1987
4.00 | 1 ratings
Beside Yourself
2004
4.00 | 2 ratings
Deep in the Shallows: The Classic Singles Collection
2007

THE CHURCH Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.50 | 2 ratings
Numbers
2001
3.00 | 1 ratings
Block
2006
3.09 | 2 ratings
Coffee Hounds
2009
4.00 | 1 ratings
Pangaea
2009

THE CHURCH Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Further/Deeper by CHURCH, THE album cover Studio Album, 2014
2.62 | 4 ratings

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Further/Deeper
The Church Prog Related

Review by nowhere girl

2 stars OK: I'll admit I only rediscovered The Church recently after a long break. Truth be told, I thought they'd gone by the wayside ages ago since I no longer heard any of their music played in the States. Turns out they've been churning out music right along since those 'heyday' years. Fast-forward to their 25th album, Further Deeper. I had no idea what to expect when I took the leap of purchasing a download off the website (downloads are cheaper + faster than CDs, or more, vinyl). What I got was quite a wide variation in likability. Some songs are hard to even recognize as The Church (e.g. Pride Before a Fall - huge disappointment esp for a first release - and Laurel Canyon & Old Coast Road - sound like they'd appeal more to geriatric folks). There are some standout songs mixed in that surprised me (e.g. Delirious, Love Philtre and Lightning White - all of which sound like The Church). But the last song, Miami (apparently Kilbey's favorite), for all its length and repetition just doesn't go anywhere. And maybe that sums it up best. It had been five years since their last album, they still perform but at fairly small local venues (for ~$AUD 60 or more a ticket), and they want to mainly play their new songs. Marty Wilson Piper may have been wise to leave when he did. Likely a case of too little too late, seems The Church aren't going anywhere any more.

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 Forget Yourself by CHURCH, THE album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.92 | 23 ratings

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Forget Yourself
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Review by Memo_anathemo

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!

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 After Everything Now This  by CHURCH, THE album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.15 | 12 ratings

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After Everything Now This
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Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Most THE CHURCH fans rate this one highly. It took 2 years to make and was recorded on 3 different continents.There is a real flow to this one as we get that same laid back, relaxing and dreamy sound throughout. And that's part of the problem for me as there is very little in the way of dynamics or contrasts. It does make for a long listen if your not digging the music.There is some guest violin / viola on here which suits that melancholic mood well.The biggest positive for me is the album cover which reminds me of where I live. It's tough to go track by track because i'll be repeating myself constantly.

Highlights include the start of "After Everything" which sounds amazing, very dreamy, but then the vocals come in and change that mood. Still this is a top three track for me. Some great lyrics on this one too. "Chronium" is my favourite because it is fuller and more urgent sounding.They come to life on this one. "Radiance" is a beautiful track. "Reprieve" has some rare energy around 2 minutes but it's brief. I like the guitar before 5 minutes. A top three. The longest track "Invisible" has these mono-toned vocals and an electronic vibe. Not a fan.

I'll stick with "Starfish" and "Priest = Aura" for my THE CHURCH fix.

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 Priest = Aura  by CHURCH, THE album cover Studio Album, 1992
4.00 | 31 ratings

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Priest = Aura
The Church Prog Related

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars 4.5 stars. Steve Kilby the bass / vocalist for THE CHURCH was (as he says) in the "honeymoon stage" of his opium addiction when writing and recording this album. He pretty much dreamed up the lyrics and sound of this album while in an opium haze. He wrote the lyrics in a trance-like state. He would later pay dearly for this addiction. Steve says he did everything he had always wanted to do on this album. Steve Kilby is one of the few people on this planet that I would pay to hear give a speech. He's one of the great characters in music. Okay let's get back to "Priest=Aura". The disconnected vocals, the atmosphere, the clear and perfect sound, the melancholy and darkness it all adds up to this being the best album THE CHURCH have ever made.There were no attempts at hit songs or bowing to the wants of the record label.They made the album they wanted to make. End of story.This is one of those albums that is difficult to describe because I can't make you feel the emotion I feel at times or hear the depth of the cavernous sounds all around me.

"Aura" is a top five tune for me. I love the sound when it kicks in with vocals before a minute. Nice bass here too.The beat stops 6 1/2 minutes in as the atmosphere takes over and sounds cry out. "Ripple" is another top five. Jangly guitars as vocals join in then it kicks in just before a minute. Guitar only before 4 1/2 minutes then it kicks back in instrumentally to the end. A powerful sound here. "Paradox" gets fuller with vocals quickly. Some backing vocals in this one. "Lustre" opens with bass and atmosphere as the guitar and drums join in, then vocals and a fuller sound follows. Atmosphere ends it. Nice. "Swan Lake" is a short tune with a relaxing beat and vocals. "Feel" sounds really good especially the bass and drums. "Mistress" is a top five.There's an emotion I feel while listening to this amazing tune.The focus is on the vocals. "Kings" opens with jangly guitars as reserved vocals come in. Atmosphere 2 1/2 minutes in then back to the vocals and earlier sound. Excellent track.

"Dome" has a beat with guitar as the vocals join in. Catchy stuff. "Witch Hunt" is all about the rhythm and lyrics. "The Disillusionist" builds quickly as vocals arrive. Dual vocals on the chorus and this has a catchy beat as well. "Old Flame" is dreamy with vocals. "Chaos" is a top five too.The longest track at 9 1/2 minutes. Atmosphere as chunky bass joins in.The guitar comes in as it builds.Vocals join in as the guitar cries out. Amazing sound that erupts 4 1/2 minutes in then rebuilds. A calm with atmosphere 7 1/2 minutes in to end it. "Film" is the final top five for me. Such a rich sound here and it turns heavier after 1 1/2 minutes then settles back as contrasts continue. A calm with atmosphere after 3 minutes to end it.

There is a spiritual componet to this album that can't be ignored. Not surprising perhaps considering the band's name and the title of this record. If going to church was as much of an experience as listening to this album I might actually go.

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 Heyday by CHURCH, THE album cover Studio Album, 1985
3.08 | 18 ratings

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Heyday
The Church Prog Related

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Not a bad pop album from THE CHURCH and you could say this was the stepping stone to international fame with their next album "Starfish". This is fairly dreamy with jangly guitars. Not a lot of dynamics at work here with the reserved vocals and that laid back sound but it has it's moments.

They do add some guest horns and strings at times.This works well with the instrumental "Happy Hunting Ground" where we get some atmosphere as well. "Myrrh" the opening track is a top three for me.The sound builds until the vocals arrive then it settles back. "Columbus" is another top three and my favourite. It's uptempo but also uplifting. "Disenchanted" is the other top three. A dreamy track that hits the spot. I like "Youth Worshipper" quite a bit as well.

I really like how this band sounds but this particular album seems to be lacking something.

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 Untitled #23 by CHURCH, THE album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.70 | 14 ratings

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Untitled #23
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Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

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.

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 Uninvited Like The Clouds by CHURCH, THE album cover Studio Album, 2006
3.63 | 15 ratings

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Uninvited Like The Clouds
The Church Prog Related

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

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.

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 Forget Yourself by CHURCH, THE album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.92 | 23 ratings

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Forget Yourself
The Church Prog Related

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

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.

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 After Everything Now This  by CHURCH, THE album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.15 | 12 ratings

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After Everything Now This
The Church Prog Related

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Sixteenth album from "The Church", this one is not to be categorized into their top ones, I'm afraid.

There is nothing too wrong here, but the melancholic music, passionless and uniform vocals, same sort of music through this almost an hour of music are ingredients which I can't find too exciting.

There is even one track recorded live. I have always wonder why the band who has been active for about twenty years by the release of "After Everything Now This" never recorded a live album. Still, they are touring. But when I see the type of events they organize (dinner + show at around 100 AUD $ for a seat) I wonder what are going through their minds. Some sort of "Night Of The Proms" affair maybe; for rich and famous?

To cut a long story short, I prefer to listen to this album (and some other ones from "The Church",) when I don't need to concentrate on their music (while reading, driving?). It is really too much of the same even if their new wave link is again very much present here ("The Cure" and the inevitable Bunnymen).

There are some nice vocal harmonies ("Chromium") but there are hardly any great song featured on this work nor delectable instrumental sections. A long, dark, languishing and soft implication. To listen to one ("Reprieve" is one of my faves) or two pieces is OK, but to have the whole bunch of tracks in a row is quite an exercise.

IMHHO, the best track from this offering is the longer "Night Friends": the melody is catchier and there is somewhat more feeling in here. The mood remains on the soft side (nice piano and ambient passages). The proggiest song of this whole for sure. Some "Lou Reed" tonality for "Seen It Coming" is not too bad either.

This album is average. Five out of ten. I could have rounded up to three stars, would the closing track be some more attractive which is not the case, unfortunately.

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 A Box Of Birds  by CHURCH, THE album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.09 | 9 ratings

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A Box Of Birds
The Church Prog Related

Review by ZowieZiggy
Prog Reviewer

3 stars A cover album from "The Church". Huuuum?

Several songs from this work do belong to my youth. From the glam / new wave era (but not only).

The opening one is "Faith Healer": one of the best songs from "The Sensational Alex Harvey Band". It is less rocking than the original (the spacey intro is quite original) but OK. I met this song in 1974 with the "Next" album (which I recommend by the way).

Actually, most of these songs will be alright; but the problem resides more in the choice of songs.

I have already outlined in some reviews from their earlier work, that some "Ultravox!" feel could be found. They pay here a tribute to them with a rendition of "Hiroshima Mon Amour" from their second album "Ha! Ha! Ha! It is not my fave track from the band (whom I like VERY much) and this version is somewhat accelerated (hence much shorter).

Another fave band of mine was "Television". A US band from the great CBGB scene and close friends with the sublime Patti Smith. Their debut album was really incredible even if "Friction" was probably one of the least appealing track. A curious choice (why not the mythical "Marquee Moon" or "See No Evil")?

I can't evoke this album without talking about "All The Young Dudes" of course. A formidable song offered by Bowie to "Mott The Hoople" who were desperate in getting a hit and about to call it quit! This song hit number three in the UK chart and launched their career. But this cover is not the best one from the album, I'm afraid.

There is also a "Beatles" cover: a confidential Harrison song featured on the poor "Yellow Submarine" album. I guess that in terms of royalty, it might be affordable and probably therefore it made its entry here.

The Iggy Pop one ("The Endless Sea") has been fully "Churcharized" (as some others ones like "The Porpoise Song"). Nothing too exciting.

One of my fave out here is the old "Silver Machine" from "Hawkwind": it almost sounds punkish here. Not bad at all: wild guitar, crazy drumming and cool vocals. Very good indeed.

The last song I know from "A Box Of Birds" is the guitar hymn "Cortez The Killer" from Neil Young ("Juma" album in 1975). The original was indeed a great moment of electric guitar (but my all time favourite from the man - together with his C, S and N - is the formidable "Southern Man" version available on "Four Way Street"). This extended version also offers some great guitar moment and probably my fave from this cover album.

It is not only a guitar hymn, but also a wonderful homage to the native Mexicans who were exterminated by Cortez, the killer?A poignant song, especially for me (I'm half Mexican by marriage). Vocals from Steve Kilbey fit perfectly well and provide some gloomy and tenebrous feel. A great song for sure. Maybe my fave from the entire discography from "The Church".

In all, this is a good cover album. Only some of the songs are not truly representative of the original band's repertoire and some others are quite sounding too much like plain "The Church" songs.

Three stars.

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