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Uninvited Like the Clouds from Record Collector 2006 Print E-mail
Saturday, 01 July 2006

Four stars

Ozzie veterans remake power-pop in their own image

The Church don't so much time as live it out on their own terms. Their 14th studio album finds them honing the pop sensibility last heard on 1998's Hologram of Baal.

Block may open proceedings with that menacing stream-of-conciousness familiar from Steve Kilbey's solo projects, but the whirling riff of Unified Field unleashes a sequence of power pop gems. Tracks by Marty Willson-Piper and Peter Koppes are among their best - Willson-Piper's She'll Come Back For You Tomorrow is decked out with gorgeous modulations, and Koppes' Never Before has a moddy intensity that erupts in the closing minutes.

The album's second half is notably more laid back - with the chill detachment of Pure Chance rather failing to engage, and the atmospherics of Real Toggle Action verging on the insubstantial. But the off-kilter kooks of Untoward are 'Church pop' at its most subtle, while Day 5 has a nostalgic intimacy and warmth untainted by world-weariness. Song To Go closes in a haze of cello, organ and ethereal vocals, evoking vistas that may be blissed-out but never indulgent. Confident and cohesive, this new album might just see The Church bolster their fanbase appreciably. Enough to keep them going into their second quarter century, anyway.

Richard Whitehouse

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