The Church – Séance

January 01, 1970

(Second Motion)


It was hardly surprising that 1983’s Seance proved the least successful of the Church’s early albums,
given its moribund tone and the fact that the band opted to produce it
themselves. Indeed, attempting to follow in the footsteps of Bob Clearmountain
was a daunting task by any standard. As it turned out, their efforts were
further subverted by engineer Nick Launay, who subsequently remixed the tapes
without the group’s consent. As a result, the drums took on added prominence,
further emphasizing the LP’s ominous qualities.


As always, bassist Steve Kilbey did the lion’s share of the
composing, but his penchant for moody atmospherics and somber storytelling did
little to gain them access to the charts. The sole group composition, “Travel
By Thought,” fails to cut through the haze, bowing instead to cosmic indulgence
via its spectral effects and trippy, scattershot rhythm. Nevertheless, the
album did produce a pair of especially incandescent offerings in “It’s No
Reason,” a song boasting shimmering textures and some unusually ethereal
harmonies, and “Now I Wonder Why,” which pits a steady strum against the song’s
stealth-like pulse. Likewise, the two singles flipsides -“Dropping Names” and
“It Doesn’t Change” – now added to the original album, prove apt embellishments
to the set list, and, in fact, emerge as two of the more accessible songs in
the collection as a whole.


Sadly though, Seance failed to capitalize on any success or forward momentum achieved by the
Church’s two initial outings, leaving it to their next effort to regain lost


No Reason,” “Now I Wonder Why,” “Dropping Names” LEE ZIMMERMAN


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