The Church

The Church lost many fans in the 1990s, when it began to favor meandering grooves that seduced with atmosphere rather than with hooks. But even though the absence of accessible pop gems meant that the prolific Australian quartet disappeared from the airwaves, its ability to bend melodies into heart-fluttering beauty never wavered. After 2003’s disappointing Forget Yourself, it’s heartening to hear the Church’s focus return on its new studio album, Uninvited, Like the Clouds. Pointed stair-step riffs skip through “Unified Field,” and spry jangle and an ebullient backbeat help “Easy” become the most accessible song the band has crafted since 1990’s “Metropolis.” Even the meticulously layered slow-burners (including “Overview,” a moody piano tune akin to the murky prog crafted by UK cult band Elbow) remain free of excess bells and whistles. Although the middle of Clouds floats too high into the Pink Floyd ether — the classic-rock guitar shards and ambient drone have the eerie quiet of an uneasy, solitary spacewalk — the ornate wordplay and Steve Kilbey’s ageless, conspiratorial vocals keep the disc grounded.

Categories: Music