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Bad review for ULTC, with reader feedback Print E-mail

Saturday, 06 May 2006

I wasn't going to add this to the archives at first, but after seeing a lot of discussion about it on Seance, I realized that if you're going to collect all the reviews, that has to include the bad ones.  The mispelling of Kilbey's name was in the original review: I didn't do that to make the reviewer look bad :)

This was originally published at http://www.aversion.com/bands/reviews.cfm?f_id=2560 and reader feedback on it was at http://www.aversion.com/reviews/reader_review_list.cfm?f_cd_id=2560

The Church?s Steve Kilby must really, really hate Coldplay?s Chris Martin, and not like the usual ?God, I can?t stand that putz in Coldplay? sort of thing, either. Yeah, he gets to you and me, with his goofy haircut, his holier-than-thou super-hot wife and his constant string of boasting about writing the greatest albums of his generation. But he must really stick in Kilby?s craw: He?s one-upped The Church?s only claim to fame.

For nearly 20 years, Kilby led The Church?s revolving-door lineup to aim to be the most easily accessible epic-rock outfit ever. With one part jangle, one part off-the-shelf arena rock, The Church rode out the ?80s and ?90s as the rock act that was edgy enough to slip into alternative radio every now and then, but still nice enough to be played, at a reasonable volume, of course, at the office. It?s nice, it?s expansive and it?s totally devoid of any distracting emotional content.

Things were going just great until a little band called Coldplay had to come along and mess everything up. Admittedly, The Church hadn?t been riding high since 1988, when ?Under the Milky Way? propelled the Aussies into the charts, but once Martin and his warmed-over U2 thing got going, there really wasn?t much hope. The Church, the onetime masters of grandiose schlock, had been out-cheesed by a gang of Brits with a Bono fetish.

With Uninvited Like the Clouds, The Church is still licking its wounds. Making another effort to score with pseudo-epic guitar pop, The Church returns with its trademark shimmer as the outfit throws the notion of succinct songwriting to the winds. What?s left is little more than overreaching layers of guitar and pompous melodies held together with just enough ?Milky Way? nostalgia to play on the glory days. The Church strikes out to be grand and epic on Uninvited Like the Clouds but end up leaving listeners to wander through bloated arrangements. ?Block? opens the album with a six-and-a-half minute arrangement that features no less than 957 guitar parts tossed on top of each other for the bigger-is-better approach. ?Pure Chance? also surpasses the six-minute mark, dropping a slowly unfolding ballad that could be a lullaby in the Coldplay household. Other tracks like ?Overview? and ?Day Five? tap studio extras like piano to stretch out the long-winded arrangements.

The Church seems to confuse length with epic qualities, however. For all its longer songs, Uninvited Like the Clouds is never epic, mostly because the band lets its song structures go to hell as its songs tip past the four-minute mark. There?s a lot in each track ? but a lot that should have been vetted out and streamlined during pre-prodcution.

It?s tough for The Church. As hard as it tries to be the world?s leading inoffensive alt-rock band, Coldplay has it licked. While that?s great news if you?re looking to soundtrack a gum commercial and can?t afford Coldplay?s scale, it?s a heck of a bummer for anyone who wants music with a pulse.

- Matt Schild


That sites allows reader feedback on reviews, and here's what happened:

Name eek
Date Apr 22, 2006
Review You don't like ULTC or The Church -- fair enough. No problem. I do have a problem with the sloppiness which permits your misspelling of Kilbey. The name is right on the promo disc -- four times. Just copy it. "Revolving-door lineup"? Three of four members have been there since the beginning.


Name Silent Bob
Email Address
Date Apr 25, 2006
Review This album is just amaizing it grows on u, as new surprises appear through the soundscapes with each listen. It is a complex masterpiece from the epic opener 'block' to the closing 'song to go' this is possibly one of the best CD's of 2006. The Floydish 'Never Before' is a massive spawling epic that builds to an icledible climax in a wall of noise, the subtle 'day five' is a magical drifter through space whilst the cigar chomping hits 'unified field' and 'easy' are scattered throughout. This is Art Rock for galleries, This is Space Rock for Martians. Do yourself a favour.


Name Silent Bob
Email Address
Date Apr 25, 2006
Review This album is just amaizing it grows on u, as new surprises appear through the soundscapes with each listen. It is a complex masterpiece from the epic opener 'block' to the closing 'song to go' this is possibly one of the best CD's of 2006. The Floydish 'Never Before' is a massive spawling epic that builds to an incredible climax in a wall of noise, the subtle 'day five' is a magical drifter through space whilst the cigar chomping hits 'unified field' and 'easy' are scattered throughout. This is Art Rock for galleries, This is Space Rock for Martians. Do yourself a favour.


Name petro
Date Apr 28, 2006
Review to the reviewer: what a pointless view of an album. coldplay - the church .... what are you talking about? your musical knowledge is obviously anemic. this album is not their best work. but to use coldplay in a review of the church...... with your writing skills you might think of becoming an insurance adjuster. petro


Name Daniel W
Email Address
Date Apr 29, 2006
Review This has got the be the dumbest review I've ever read. Not because it slams a great band like The Church - I've done that myself on occasion when hearing something I didn't like. No, it's the dumbest review ever because of the authors hangup with Coldplay and his attempt to compare it to The Church when there is NOTHING AT ALL in common between the two. He might as well be comparing Metallica with James Brown. What a dumbass.


Name Rob
Email Address
Date Apr 29, 2006
Review Mr. Shilne; Oops, sorry, did I spell that wrong? I should have checked the review page where it was clearly spelled out, much like Steve KilbEy is clearly spelled on the cd. Have you or will you name any of your children Apple? Not a Church fan?..that's cool..I have no problem with that...but how about not writing a review about another band so soon after staring into Chris Martins' oh so dreamy eyes. Clear your head first and you will see this is not an attempt to one up Coldplay or in any way mimic them. Blech. This is a damn fine album by a band who have no ambition of taking the world by storm but just want to make good music for those of us who get it. Let's see if Coldplay are putting out quality music 20+ years after their start as the Church are doing now. Give my best to Gwyneth...hope she learns eating food is a good thing. RS


Name Drake
Date Apr 30, 2006
Review dumbass. what does this or anything the Church have ever done have to do with Coldplay? P.S.-Excellent album!


Name Dutch Pierre
Email Address
Date May 01, 2006
Review I think this is a great album. The Church were around a long time before Coldplay & are much more adept at producing visual soundscapes with real emotion, not manufactured. Why compare them to Coldplay anyway. Did they ask you to? The Church are not trying to appease anyone with this album. It's obvious they've got to a stage where they are comfortable with each other & they make the music they wanna make. They're not signed to a major label. Theyre nearly the same age as The Stones & I think it's probably a kind of paradoxical honour that this dickhead reviewer tries to compare them to Coldplay( one of the biggest bands in the world at the moment) anyway.


Name Doc
Date May 03, 2006
Review The Church keeps evolving, and when I read a stupid review like this, comparing bubblegum Coldplay and the Church, it tells me we have a reviewer wants to be given cheeseburgers and a milk shake NOW, for instant pleasure. There's no comparison between these two bands. Martin is a radio ready tunesmith. Kilbey and the gang (it hasn't been a revolving door band...only the drummers dummy!) have creative highways going all over the place. Enjoy it the 10th listen more than the first.


Name Brent
Date May 04, 2006
Review The Church is not at all similar to Coldplay. Their longevity lies in their avoidance of the mainstream shallowness that so many bands like Coldplay have given in to. Their greatness is defined not by ?Under the Milky Way?, but by the soaring soundscapes and maintained creative tensions.


Name sean
Email Address
Date May 04, 2006
Review Pointless review. Reviewer obviously came to the album already disliking The Church, and therefore wrote the review to amuse himself and/or like-minded readers. Criteria used seems arbitrary and off-based. To my mother, The Church might sound a bit like Coldplay who might sound like U2. To serious fans of inde pop/rock and mainstream pop/rock that emerged from the aforementioned scene, these bands are quite different. The Church's aspirations are much different.
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