16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars
No experiments; this is the real deal, 21 April 2009
Untitled #23 is a new masterpiece from The Church. While every Church band musical offering produces something very unique and wonderful as far as soundscapes go, this is the first album to come as close to my heart as my much loved Priest=Aura. Untitled #23 is a real solid collection of songs, each one isolated in its style yet belonging together. Its a album that will grow with you and stay. It might take a few listens but you become totally arrested by it. The Church always open with a compelling number (i.e. BLOCK on the last studio album) and COBALT BLUE is no exception but dont let it nail your opinion till you hear whats to come, this is quite a potent collection. Two clear favourites of mine that I cherish: the beautiful OPERETTA, a song that Steve Kilbey sings with such feeling and then there's the atmospheric SUNKEN SUN chiming ships bells tolling in the mist and the one where Steve Kilbey's vocal delivery really comes into it's own. LUNAR has drop-dead guitar magic but there's loads of sparkly guitar on the whole album. Tim Powles great drum rhythms present throughout tho' I think they've swapped instruments at times, something The Church have been doing a lot recently, not being the type of band to rest on their laurels. I've heard comparisons from the Byrds to George Harrison to Pink Floyd (yes, there are echoes in there) but The Church have their own inimitable and distinctive style that might conjure up influences but is distinctly their own and almost impossible to imitate. I found myself stopping dead in my tracks to listen to this album with awe, there are many drop-dead magic moments here. I can't wait for them to tour the States in June (a full electric tour I hear) and show the Americans what we Aussies had to ourselves last month. HAPPENSTANCE is a dreamy, sexy number endowed with slide guitar and ebow (a Peter Koppes specialty)and lovely backing vocals; there's so much more happening in the background. Complimentary cello and harp in PANGAEA, (a diamond number) create two starters that get you in the groove for the album. ANCHORAGE has dark, dramatic undertones. I think fans will be jumping up and down about this one, and the electric lovers will get to rock out to the dynamic DEADMAN'S HAND (a distant reminder of Roman?) and the vibrant SPACE SAVIOUR. ON ANGEL STREET has that haunting loneliness of an Isidore track (Isidore being Steve Kilbey & Jeffery Cain).
With a nod and a wink, I take my hat off to Kilbey and his band for this amazing collection. Don't deny yourself the recent eps that preceded this - PANGAEA EP (also has a song each by Marty Willson-Piper the trademark INSANITY and Peter Koppes pens LLC, a beautiful pop ode) and then there's the brilliant 17 minute epic SO LOVE MAY FIND ME. The Coffee Hounds ep bears a great cover of Kate Bush's HOUNDS OF LOVE song and the mesmerising THE COFFEE SONG vocal + instrumental (that any surf movie director would kill for) - it's a fabulous, extraordinary time to be a Church fan. Music lovers will rejoice at this gift and Church fans will be grinning that `oh yeah we know' kind of look. Well thats my early take on this new album that I cant put down. Pass out the cigars, this one deserves congratulations and, I cant wait for the double vinyl album version.