the church "UNINVITED, LIKE THE CLOUDS" Irish Release 14th April 2006 on Cooking Vinyl
New album “El Momento Descuidado” (Cooking Vinyl)
The Church's 16 studio album "!FORGET YOURSELF"

the church
Irish Release 14th April 2006 on Cooking Vinyl

“Uninvited, like the clouds
Unremembered, like the leaves
Unintroduced, like the rain
Unperceived, like the truth”
Ladies, gentlemen, enthusiasts, detractors, obsessive collectors, curious novices… several facts were employed in the making of this Church record. Some are herewith assembled in good faith. But as ever in this perpetual labyrinth of sound and imagination, the truth is likely to remain unperceived.

This intriguing state of suspension should be familiar to those who have followed this band’s remarkable journey from Sydney 1980 to their current, peerless and stateless location best described as Sometime, Anywhere.

Uninvited, Like the Clouds is their tenth, thirteenth, twentieth or umpteenth album, depending on how you choose to count them. It arrived, as its title may suggest, by colliding accidents of fate and atmospheric pressure.

It was received, played and produced by Steve Kilbey, Peter Koppes, Tim Powles and Marty Willson-Piper, with select guests, in the summertime, at Spacejunk 1 and Dodgy Sound studios in Sydney.

The Spacejunk sessions largely centred on the random, self-generating process of live interaction that spawned two recent, highly regarded Church albums, After Everything Now This and Forget Yourself. The Dodgy sessions were generally more considered, structured and traditional.

Perhaps as a result, the album’s expansive textures and arresting melodies form a kind of bridge between the euphoric pop of the band’s fortuitous radio intrusions (see “Almost With You”, “Metropolis”, “Under the Milky Way”) and the ominous, unsettled light of their more kaleidoscopic art-rock trips.

Hence “Block”, a dramatic course through metaphysical traffic and fever from Miracle Street to Hyperion, a song like a slow dream of falling through a mutating vortex of guitars. And its polar opposite, “Easy”: a briefly shimmering sun shower with an updraft of promise and trilling mandolin.

The Church’s infinite spectrum of colours spans here from the sinister shards and magma of “Space Needle” to the opiated drift of “Pure Chance”, a cool surrender to a mermaid’s song.

“Real Toggle Action” is a fragmented ice-scape with a chilling dose of deep space blues, “Untoward” a nightmarish inner dialogue on smart drugs, the blissful “Unified Field” perhaps the band’s most summery, exuberant and plain catchy tune of the last decade or more.

Willson-Piper's “She’ll Come Back For You Tomorrow” revisits and updates a recurring theme in the Church’s big book of dreams, one in which nameless muses tease and hypnotise then vanish like mist, flesh and blood turned into imagination and contradiction.

Less familiar to the Church’s ethereal palette are some quite modern and earthbound images, notably the sense of shared isolation that makes “Overview” resonate so vividly: abstract 21st century angst tempered by the perennial hope of the music’s swelling sunrise.

Then there’s the penultimate entry in this year’s space log, “Day 5”, one of the band’s most gorgeous and intriguing songs to date. It sparks opaque memories, like a random chapter in a continuing story that’s left us suspended before, maybe on Séance, Starfish or Priest = Aura.

Throughout the grim, beautiful, disorienting journey, the four cornerstones of the Church continue to greet and defy expectations, Kilbey the receiver of an endless stream of outlandish images, the guitars of Koppes and Willson-Piper spiralling, aquaplaning, morphing and diverging. Powles shares production duties this time to concentrate on drums and percussion.

Like all truths, these basic rules are naturally in permanent flux. In "Song To Go", a guitar is abandoned for a hand-operated pump organ and cellist Sophie Glasson adds a classical counterpoint. David Lane’s piano bridges “Overview”; a mercurial, mandolin-like motif binds Koppes' “Never Before”; Powles’ additional production continues a sonic thread through the band’s last extraordinary decade.

Divine intervention may well have played a part too, but it’s refreshingly clear that the prevailing Hot Sound, the convenient market niche and the media-sponsored zeitgeist did not. These flecks of pestilence are too weak and transient to affect the cosmic seeds that the Church sow.

Possibility remains a more alluring mistress than expectation. To some parties, it’s best to remain uninvited. Not unlike, say, the clouds.

~ Michael Dwyer, January 2006

Uninvited, Like the Clouds (COOKCD336) is released in Ireland on Friday 14th April .

The Church

Irish Release 1st July 2005

“The way to make these songs work was to treat them almost casually,” says Steve Kilbey. “The record was made in two or three days, virtually live. The vocals were done in one or two takes. The trick was to treat them all like brand new songs. They were all fresh, they all had equal status.”

Looking back has never been the Church’s style. Their first hit, The Unguarded Moment, has been a radio staple for 23 years but the band responsible stopped playing it long ago, to pursue new horizons with a unique determination that continues to challenge and inspire a worldwide audience.

The long neglected title makes a stunning return on El Momento Descuidado, a spontaneous acoustic disc that reinvents tunes spanning the band’s extraordinary journey. Spiked with five exceptional new tracks, it plays more like an entirely fresh Church album than anything resembling nostalgia.

“Metropolis and Unguarded Moment sound like music you’d hear coming from a New Jersey pier on a hot summer night,” Kilbey observes. Subtle structural and atmospheric twists also colour their biggest hit, Under the Milky Way.

Almost With You retains its original sea-breeze jangle, but with an Eno-esque vibes solo from drummer Tim Powles, one of many multi-instrumental embellishments that give each song previously unimagined dimensions.

“Just doing The Church Unplugged would have been pointless for us,” says Kilbey. “We wanted to really feel the songs, reinterpret them. We wanted to free them, open them up, strip back some of the artifice. We found there were some other songs lurking in there, behind the stiff face of the originals.”

Of the more recent songs, Marty Willson-Piper’s Chromium is a dazzling rediscovery. His concert perennial Tristesse is also transformed, sounding more like a lost gem from Bob Dylan’s Blood On The Tracks.

Peter Koppes’ expanded palette is another revelation. From piano and harmonica to mandolin, he brings new textures to Milky Way and New Seasons and an evocative melancholy to one of the outstanding new songs, All I Know.

From the Midsummer Night’s Dream-weaving of November to the rolling country feel of Cows Come Home to the cinematic shimmer of Between Mirages, the new songs mark further progress in one of the most vibrant careers at the enquiring edge of rock.

“It’s not like we just played the old electric parts on acoustic guitars,” says Kilbey. “That could never work for us. We really put some love into this.”

  The Church's 16 studio album "!FORGET YOURSELF" has been officially released in Australia and the 'Song In Space' video made it's debut on major Australia video show RAGE.

Inpress - "the songwriting is breathtaking, the songwriting is breathtaking"..."highlight is Telepath, where harmonies melt and the
wonderful interplay between guitarists' Willson-Piper and Peter Koppes comes to the fore"..."plenty of life left in this remarkable group".

Undercover - "a welcome return to the scene and their 23 years of existence is shown through their airy-but-powerful music and their smart, but somehow cynical lyrics....loud when it needs to be and hushes up when necessary..what it lacks in commercialism it makes up for in brilliance"

Aust Rolling Stone - "situation normal for The Church's 16th studio exploration of guitarchitecture and stoned atmospherics. Front Guy Steve Kilbey still recites his cryptic word puzzles as though he's been caught sleepwalking and Marty Willson-Piper hasn't lost the knack of locking into a supersonic guitar ragga (check out The Theatre and It's Double)."

Brag - "The glorious, unwieldy Sealight sets the tone for this record which sees The Church more stoner-rock than ever, but just as reliably (and inconsistently) excellent as they've been for the last 22 years. Electrified acoustic guitars, extensive instrument-swapping and the live/jam feel of songs recorded as they were written in the studio makes for a somewhat precarious balance of richness and psychedelia; it's almost too much. But do as the title says and you will be rewarded immediately with the disintegrating denouement of Song In Space and the ghostly melodrama of The Theatre and its Double, a great example of Kilbey's rambling, apocryphal narrative style. While I prefer its sparser moments (June) the standout track on Forget Yourself is Reversal, most influenced by their remix CD and sounding like a little lost bit of Notwist amidst twangling guitars. The Church's artistry doesn't let go its heady spell until Summer washed its warm waves over to the final fadeout. Commendable, again."

Sun Herald - "technically brilliant"

Australian Financial Review - "their spacerock isn't so far in texture and aural flavour from so much of today's dance music, minus perhaps the metronomic beat.....a densely multilayered affair of gauzy sound, thick with guitars, keyboards and Kilbey's sometimes half-heard vocals...evocative, atmospheric and very trippy, as you might imagine their chiming sound from the early days evolving, now sophisticated, dense and evocative, yet still fey in the enduring manner. It rocks, though in a slightly circumspect way, but equally revels in it sown heady orchestration of inventive effects."

Soundbuzz - "unarguably Australian music icons.....they explore the fringes of emotionally inspired music and stay true to their own code.....offer more consistency and competency but few surprises which, given their age, is understandable. However, for fans of the band, it is a worthy album that sees them pouring heart and soul into the performances, building waves of psychedelic sound to take your mind off into the ether. File under trippy rock."

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