Review ·

Listening to the Church usually takes me back to the mid-'90s, when I used to go to goth/industrial nights in Philadelphia. They seemed to be the only nights out where a girl could actually hear the Smiths and dance and sway a bit. Other big goth-ish hits were the Church’s “Reptile” and “Under the Milky Way,” and I’ll always associate them with goth night too. However, on Untitled #23, the band has again changed directions, and this time it’s a dream-pop psychedelic odd-yssey.


Like their fellow Australians, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, the members of the Church don’t get boring even though they’ve been around for donkey’s years (or since 1980 in calendar years). Steve Kilbey still possesses a velvet voice and Peter Koppes’ guitar is still doing seductive back flips. The Church remains a tantalizing guitar band, tricky and seductive and ultimately sublime. When bands this good don’t break up and just keep putting out releases that remind us why they are so good, longevity is blessed.


“Cobalt Blue” opens the album with dark and snaky drums, and the soaring vocals and synthesized strings are harmonic like otherworldly Beatles. The Church are a whole different kind of eerie, suggestive of Space Oddity-era Bowie, only much bigger and expansive. “Happenstance” walks this uncharted territory as well, weaving psychedelia with harmonies in delicate balance. “Pangaea” is as wide as the title suggests, nearly overblown and overstated, and devastatingly beautiful in its restraint. “Anchorage” is a desolate lighter waver, a harder edged psychedelic foray across musical tundra. “Lunar” is more ethereal wandering across that frontier.


The album is at once sparse yet warm and layered, lush and thick lipped, engorged with beauty. The Church have proven yet again they are masters of dreamy and dark rock, prolific and inventive. Leaving the album untitled lets us, the listeners, decide what to call it for ourselves, and it gives us the entry to wander in the band's wilderness.

  • Cobalt Blue
  • Deadman's Hand
  • Pangaea
  • Happenstance
  • Space Saviour
  • On Angel Street
  • Sunken Sun
  • Anchorage
  • Lunar
  • Operetta

The Church, the romantic Australian band from the 80s that has steadfastly remained on the music scene, offers another dreamy release, Untitled #23. The album is made up of songs to make out to, preferably after a dramatic moment (or in the backseat of a car, teenage-style). It does not seem like the band was out to break the mold with Untitled #23, but why should they? For nearly thirty years, The Church has been putting out genuine space rock that manages to sound youthful, regardless of the bandmembers' increasing ages. Further, I'd say that there's not enough makeout rock music released these days.

The Mars Volta - Octahedron Blank Dogs Under and Under

In 30 years of pumping out regular releases and numerous side projects, The Church have just about written the manual for what a real, working rock band stands for. These guys are working musicians whose job it is to create meaningful and lasting music for themselves, their fans and for posterity. I have followed The Church since 1981, have seen them live countless times and have just about all their releases so I can afford to take a long view of their musical output. Put simply, Untitled #23 is possibly their best and ranks with Radiohead's In Rainbows as a landmark release. The sound quality is (as always) absolutely superb and there are rich layers of sounds unearthed after every spin of the disc. Each of the 10 tracks seems to have been lovingly put together and all stand on their own - not a filler in any of 'em. Any serious music listener will appreciate the classy soundscapes of this wonderful album. But it. Play it to a Church novice. Now.


Ahhh the suspense is killing me. I've ordered the album and now waiting. This is one of the most important and overlooked bands. The depth and intensity coupled with the ethereal moods these guys create is incredible. Anyone who misses this band on their North American tour starting in June is simply insane...

Transient Songs

I am a long time Church fan and have heard a few sneak peaks from the new album. I just love the them. Once of the best bands I can think of. Can't wait to see them in Philadelphia is support of the album.


So. Amazingly. Good.


And I can't let it go!


Yeah this truly is a classic and brilliant release from a band I've loved for over 25 years... good and accurate reviewing here! The album somehow reaches further than the band has ever managed to before... and the result is truly tangible! Love, MSM. (PS: shameless self promo - )


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