The Church : Further/Deeper
Steve Kilbey and his Churchmen continue their prolonged cosmic journey with almost evangelical zeal. Of Skins and Heart emerged in 1981 and since that time there have been records bearing The Church moniker almost on an annual basis. That makes for a lot of records and songs. Kilbey has over 700 songs registered with APRA, and undoubtedly even he would be pressed to name each one. Further/Deeper provides no surprises, just more of the quintessential Church psychedelic renditions stretching over twelve songs with almost biblical numerology.
No longer part of the crew is Marty Wilson-Piper, one of the pillars of the band along with Kilbey, Peter Koppes and Tim Powles. His position has been taken by former Powderfinger man Ian Haug, and it is almost a hand to glove fit. This restructure has seemingly not harmed the band and a favourable group chemistry evolves behind the avatar words of Kilbey. Often, the music contains a rococo flurry of notes which elicit a disengaged cool and bemusement. It is almost like immersing yourself into a sonic bath with the band.
Kilbey sounds as sincere as ever and despite the familiarity of the palate, the band are still ferocious when the need arises. Importantly, they do not grate. Lyrically, from Vanishing Man onwards the listener feels like they are being led toward a divine spark that behests the knowing few. Grains of salt are required for the trip. As the melodies intertwine they exemplify the carefully thought-out compositional and thematic coherence. On Delirious they shine, and chord sequences are akin to Acid Test tripster gurus.
By Pride before a Fall the band are ready to stretch out and favour more open-ended exploration . The organic nature of Laurel Canyon almost renders the tune a quaint period piece, but ambience and continuing stimulation between the band members evidences that after all these years and some wrong turns and stumbles, The Church are still heading somewhere.
BY BRONIUS ZUMERIS
Best Track: Miami
If You Like These, You'll Like This: THE CURE, DEAD CAN DANCE, 13TH FLOOR ELEVATORS, FINK, JEFFERSON AIRPLANE
In A Word: Expansive