TALES FROM THE CRYPT
Church reissues recall Aussie band at their best
By Lee Zimmerman
Arguably, the Church never really got their due. Perhaps it
owed to the fact that they hailed from Australia, stripping them of the
logistical advantage of immediacy and accessibility claimed by their British
cousins. Or maybe it was their musical formula itself, part gloom and mystique,
part forward motion, an unlikely combination that shook off any attempt to
pigeonhole them completely.
Happily then, Second Motion Records, the current keeper of
the band’s rich legacy, offers opportunity to dig into the Church’s coffers and
discover the wealth of riches this band has mined over the course of the past
thirty years. Replete with bonus tracks and in-depth liner notes by guitarist
Marty Willson-Piper, they offer essential listening that’s as mesmerizing now
as it was originally. It’s as good a time as any to step up to the altar.
Today we take a look at the 2CD Deep in the Shallows – The Classic Singles Collection; tune in
tomorrow when we cover the band’s first four full-lengths, Of Skins and Heart, Blurred Crusade, Séance and Heyday.
Deep in the Shallows – The Classic Singles Collection
The perfect primer for the casual Church fan, Deep in the Shallows also ought to be considered an essential
acquisition even for the dedicated devotee who owns all these tracks on the
original albums and EPs. Indeed, the opportunity to enjoy a complete compendium
of the band’s best moments in the relatively compact expanse of two discs
provides a non-stop survey of Church treasures, 32 remarkable songs that
reaffirm the fact that they remain one of the most compelling outfits of the
past three decades.
Disc one boasts the early milestones – “The Unguarded
Moment,” “Too Fast For You,” “Tear It All Away,” “Columbus,” “Disenchanted” and
their biggest hit of that early era, “Under the Milky Way.” The second set
meanwhile, explores the band’s legacy well beyond the initial era covered by
the reissued albums, plucking samples from the group’s second phase — albums
like Starfish, Gold Afternoon Fix, Magician
Among the Spirits and the two recent Untitled efforts.
For many early fans, those records represent unexplored
terrain, territory that was perhaps a bit too amorphous and foreboding to
inspire continued allegiance. Happily then, songs such as “Feel,” “Welcome,”
“Louisiana” and “Metropolis” reaffirm the fact that the Church still managed to
retain their pervasive allure well after their initial run of successful
singles. Suffice it to say that Deep in
the Shallows may well be one of the best and most consistent avenues of
rediscovery in recent memory.
Unguarded Moment,” “Too Fast For You,” “Columbus,” “Under the Milky Way” LEE