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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, "Séance"), 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 "Séance", "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 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)

3.01 | 19 ratings
Of Skins And Heart
1981
3.03 | 25 ratings
The Blurred Crusade
1982
2.80 | 10 ratings
The Church
1982
3.75 | 22 ratings
Seance
1983
2.63 | 17 ratings
Remote Luxury
1984
3.39 | 25 ratings
Heyday
1985
3.40 | 43 ratings
Starfish
1988
2.88 | 28 ratings
Gold Afternoon Fix
1990
2.83 | 9 ratings
A Quick Smoke At Spot's
1991
3.99 | 42 ratings
Priest = Aura
1992
3.33 | 20 ratings
Sometime Anywhere
1994
3.48 | 24 ratings
Magician Among The Spirits
1996
3.90 | 21 ratings
Hologram Of Baal
1998
3.06 | 13 ratings
A Box Of Birds
1999
3.62 | 13 ratings
Magician Among The Spirits Plus Some
1999
3.15 | 15 ratings
After Everything Now This
2001
3.89 | 28 ratings
Forget Yourself
2003
2.59 | 13 ratings
El Momento Descuidado
2004
2.75 | 8 ratings
Back With Two Beasts
2005
3.57 | 19 ratings
Uninvited Like The Clouds
2006
3.14 | 7 ratings
El Momento Siguente
2007
3.00 | 5 ratings
Shriek: Excerpts From the Soundtrack
2009
3.80 | 17 ratings
Untitled #23
2009
3.33 | 12 ratings
Further/Deeper
2014

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

4.67 | 3 ratings
A Psychedelic Symphony
2014

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

4.50 | 2 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)

2.67 | 3 ratings
Numbers
2001
3.00 | 1 ratings
Block
2006
3.31 | 4 ratings
Coffee Hounds
2009
4.33 | 3 ratings
Pangaea
2009

THE CHURCH Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Hologram Of Baal  by CHURCH, THE album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.90 | 21 ratings

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Hologram Of Baal
The Church Prog Related

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The Church's career rattled along like a sort of musical katamari, with the various styles they collided with becoming absorbed into their sound and never entirely disappearing. Take, for instance, Hologram of Baal, in which you can hear their jangle pop and dream pop roots coexisting with more recent spacey neo-psychedelic and shoegaze influences they had drawn into their sound along the way.

One of the most oft-cited properties of a hologram is that a small fragment of it contains all the information of the whole, and this is what Hologram of Baal is for the Church's music - a sort of panopticon from which you can see all the different wings of their creativity.

 Priest = Aura  by CHURCH, THE album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.99 | 42 ratings

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Priest = Aura
The Church Prog Related

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The Church's usual jangle pop sound is informed somewhat by the aesthetic and style of shoegaze on Priest=Aura, though whilst at first it might seem that they are riding the bandwagon driven by the likes of My Bloody Valentine or Ride (and Ride does seem to be a strong influence here), pretty soon it becomes apparent that The Church is steering it in a direction of their choosing. Updating their sound without wrecking it or losing sight of what was so magical about their previous work, The Church find themselves just as strong coming into the 1990s as they were in the past decade.
 Starfish by CHURCH, THE album cover Studio Album, 1988
3.40 | 43 ratings

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Starfish
The Church Prog Related

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars The Church's Starfish finds the band crafting delicate jangle pop numbers with just a hint of pizzazz that reminds me of Felt's output during their stint with Creation records, or perhaps You Can't Hide Your Love Forever by Orange Juice. The closing number Hotel Womb might be a little too fascinated with itself and take a little too long, but on the other hand that kind of fits the insular tone of the song, and the dreamy, psychedelic influences on the band ensures that their jangley sound remains compelling throughout the album. One to kick back and lose yourself in on a summer's evening.
 Heyday by CHURCH, THE album cover Studio Album, 1985
3.39 | 25 ratings

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Heyday
The Church Prog Related

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

5 stars The Church's Heyday is a brilliant artifact from a parallel universe where paisley shirts stayed cool right into the 1980s alternative underground. The album is wreathed in hefty wafts of a hippified gothic psychedelia atmosphere that's highly reminiscent of the sort of material that All About Eve were working with at around this time - indeed, there'd be a cross-pollination of personnel and ideas between the two bands in the near future precisely because they were working in such a similar area. For my money, Heyday is aptly named, because it represents the magnificent high water mark of the Church's extensive 1980s output.
 Seance by CHURCH, THE album cover Studio Album, 1983
3.75 | 22 ratings

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Seance
The Church Prog Related

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Nailing the classic 1980s indie guitar rock jangle pop sound well before much of the rest of the scene cohered around this sort of material, the Church's Seance spices up its sound with hints of gothic influences scattered here and there. The production sound is a bit more classically "1980s" than the more timeless sound of some of their releases,, with the gated drum sound being laid on especially thick, but whilst this does mean it is distinctively a product of its era I think the material is strong enough that it doesn't suffer too much for this. Not the pinnacle of their output - I think Heyday pips it - but very good nonetheless.
 Further/Deeper by CHURCH, THE album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.33 | 12 ratings

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Further/Deeper
The Church Prog Related

Review by Relayer71

4 stars Their most consistent album, but not their best: while the songs are all good, they never quite hit the highs found on the previous stunner, Untitled #23 (Operetta, Cobalt Blue, Anchorage) and 2002's After Everything Now This (Night Friends, Invisible).

As on the last few albums, the Church have managed to come up with fresh melodies, arrangements and sounds while still retaining their overall sound - a feat not many bands well past the 20 year mark (35) can achieve. This is made even more commendable by the fact that long-time guitarist Marty Wilson-Piper was replaced by former Powderfinger guitarist Ian Haug and Haug does a fantastic job of playing within the established parameters of the classic Church sound so that Wilson-Piper's absence is barely even noticed (not to take away from his abilities - just that Haug's style not only blends seamlessly with remaining member Peter Koppes', but it also doesn't seem out of place and he plays exactly what works for each song).

An issue I have with the album is the sound quality - it sounds a bit compressed on some tracks (especially the drums, surprising as the band's drummer has also produced the last few albums including this one), the vocals are mixed a bit too low on some songs, and the bass guitar lacks a bit of definition on many tracks.

Also, the album could have been shortened to 10 tracks instead of 12 and probably have been stronger for it. While not terrible, on the first few listens, the first single Pride Before A Fall's languid pace definitely mars the effect of the album's amazing first two tracks which are energetic, propulsive. And closer Miami is not that special compared to the stunning closing tracks on their last few albums and at over 8 minutes, a bit too long. It's not a bad song, but it definitely sounds dated and would not have seemed out of place on Heyday or an earlier album. That being said, the sequencing really stands out on this album creating a strong synergistic effect, making for a somewhat brisk feeling 67 minutes. And after repeated plays, these two songs actually fit in with the rest of the album and don't take away from it too much.

I'm giving this album 4 stars on the strengths of a few standout tracks that are 5 track material (Vanishing Man, Delirious, Love Philtre, Lightning White) but note that there are a few 3 star tracks that keeps this album from being up their with their absolute best.

 Starfish by CHURCH, THE album cover Studio Album, 1988
3.40 | 43 ratings

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Starfish
The Church Prog Related

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

3 stars I didn't like a lot of music from the eighties. At that time I was almost listening to Prog Rock bands all the time. But from the mid to late eighties there were at least two FM radio stations in my city ("Rock 101" and "WFM") which started to broadcast some very good music from the eighties, with songs from bands like THE CHURCH, THE FIXX, U2, THE WATERBOYS, etc. But I have to say that while I liked all these songs (mostly in the Pop Rock style) I never was enough interested to go to find their albums in the record shops to buy them.

Recently I was given as a gift some fifty LPs by a friend who didn't want to keep them anymore in his house because he doesn't like to listen to LPs anymore but he didn't want to put them in the garbage bin. He also received the same LPs some years ago from another friend who thought the same. So, maybe now I am the third or fourth owner of all these LPs! If these friends could know that now the LPs are more in the "fad" again (that is, some record companies are since some years ago selling new LP editions with expensive prices of some old albums from a lot of bands) maybe they could want to keep some of these old LPs to at least try to sell them in used LPs shops, a thing that maybe i'm going to do, because I found in this collection of LPs some interesting albums for other people, I think. Maybe I'm going to keep a few for my own record collection, being "good" for my taste. But a lot of them are really "out of my taste", and surprisingly they are in "good state" (more or less) to be sold to those used LPs shops in my city. Why to keep them in my house if I don't like them?

One interesting LP that I found in this collection (and one of the few that I'm not going to sell!) is THE CHURCH's "Starfish" album from 1988.I previously listened to this band in those FM radio stations of my city in the late eighties. Their song called "Under the Milky Way" was played a lot by them then, and I liked the song then. But I completely forgot the song for a long time. But it was until I read the title of the song in the back cover of the LP that I remembered about it. So, I listened to the LP as a whole for the first time, twice, and I liked it. I really think that THE CHURCH for me is not a Prog band. Maybe the band has some Prog Related things in the music, but for me this band is more a Pop Rock or Alternative Rock band in musical style. I even was more surprised to realize that it was included in the Prog Archives discography database, but not having listened to their other albums yet I really don't know if some of their other albums are more Prog Related or not than this album.

Anyway, the album is good, based mostly in guitar playing, with a lot of guitars played with arpeggios and some use of pedal effects (maybe some Chorus pedal effects and reverberation). The guitarists play very good "atmospheric" guitars, also adding some good distorted guitars in some places. There are also some keyboards (played by a session musician) in some songs, also adding "atmospheric" sounds and arrangements to the music. So the music is mostly very "atmospheric". They also sing good lead and backing vocals (with bassist Steve Kilbey being the lead singer most of the time). The recording and mixing of the album are very good, and the best songs in the LP are "Under the Milky Way" (of course, also being a successful Hit Single for the band), and all the songs from the Side Two of the LP ("Spark", "Antenna", "Reptile", "A New Season" and "Hotel Womb"). It is curious that they left most of the best songs in the album for the Side Two of the LP (at least for my taste).

In conclusion: this Australian band and this album are good...not very Prog Related in musical style, but good if you want to listen to some very good "atmospheric" Pop Rock or Alternative Rock music from the eighties.

 Priest = Aura  by CHURCH, THE album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.99 | 42 ratings

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Priest = Aura
The Church Prog Related

Review by sinslice

4 stars It's strange to see The Church here. However, this is a must, particularly album.

Perhaps most progressive of the Australian band is in some surprising EP's, in songs like 'So Love May Find Us' (Pangaea), and 'Night Sequence' (Back with Two Beasts). Here in "Priest ..." we might mention the overwhelming ´Chaos´. The rest develops between rhythmic and dotted guitars, bass simple and accurate, new drummer that curdles well; and above all, compelling and exciting melodies, like much of the lyrics, sung with energy and passion. The production is top notch.

Is it appropriate not highlight it because it is not 100% Progressive? Who knows? The word 'progress' corresponds irrefutably and is applicable to this sublime work. I remember buying the CD 20 years ago and do not know any songs due to little commercial impact it had.

Musicians with accredited and a long career. It earned the band, despite facing serious difficulties and changes, has been reinventing and has remained active for more than three decades; because they are really good at their proposal. Several subsequent albums are worthy and leave a good feeling, but here there are no good rating for being less progressive.

In short: 'Aura' Is mesmerizing, dark and light at a time. The chorus of 'The Disilusionist' excels; ´Feel' should have given more commercial revenues. It would be unfair not to mention 'Mistress', 'Lustre', 'Feel', 'Ripples'. Short songs are competent and fit well in the work.

 Further/Deeper by CHURCH, THE album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.33 | 12 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.
 Forget Yourself by CHURCH, THE album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.89 | 28 ratings

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Forget Yourself
The Church Prog Related

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!
Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition.

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