The Church: Forget Yourself

The Church: Forget Yourself

The Church was a slow starter in the early '80s, taking eight years to crack the U.S. charts while fellow Aussies INXS and Men At Work were racking up American airplay with thick hooks and danceable rhythms. The Church's biggest hit, 1988's "Under The Milky Way," used Los Angeles studio muscle to enhance the band's jangling, chiming style, and though it's been making records steadily ever since, The Church's quick retreat to elusive anti-anthems hobbled any chance of continued commercial success. On a creative level, however, The Church has endured fairly well. The new Forget Yourself gets a lot of mileage out of the dueling guitars of Marty Willson-Piper and Peter Koppes, which ripple across and partially obscure Steve Kilbey's deep, wrenching voice. Forget Yourself loads up on lengthy, pounding songs like "Sealine" and "Song In Space," where the mid-song guitar freakouts are more important than the choruses. Willson-Piper and Koppes use their instruments to shoot sharp blips through the billowing surface of "Lay Low" and to accent the syncopation of the trippy "See Your Lights." Rock music so reliant on sound and mood naturally drifts into U2/Radiohead territory, but fruitfully so, as on "The Theatre And Its Double," while the punchy "Don't You Fall" suggests that whatever Pavement stole from early post-punk, the post-punk vets are more than eager to steal it back. Forget Yourself is overlong and largely unoriginal, but it possesses a craft and sophistication largely missing from many of its modern-day guitar-pop peers. It's too bad that The Church's reputation–as a band of oldsters long since peaked–will likely keep the album from receiving the attention that has mostly eluded its creators.

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