The Church

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Hindsight Review

by Ned Raggett

This two-disc collection is a perfect introduction to the Church for new fans, given all the many singles collected from Of Skins and Heart up through Heyday, along with an album cut or two. As an overview of the band's evolution from catchy postpunk pop to its own thrilling musical recipe, along with some amusing liner notes from Kilbey song per song, it's a definite winner. But hardcore fans will want this collection as well for an even stronger reason -- the inclusion of many B-sides not collected anywhere else. Ranging from the randomly goofy to the sublime, they give a great peek into the band's diversions and experiments over its first few years. A clutch of B-sides from the Blurred Crusade era helps close out the first disc, including the thrashy, semi-surf touched "Fraulein," with some neat vocals (background) supporting Kilbey, and the slightly cinematic instrumental "The Golden Dawn," strings and/or keyboards helping out along the way. The rarities on the second disc are also an intriguingly mixed bag, starting with the Sing-Songs EP cut "The Night is Very Soft," a mysterious, slightly strange number. "Autumn Soon" has Koppes doing a quick but atmospheric sitar/guitar melody, though fighting through a slightly murky mix, while Koppes himself takes the quietly moody (and more than slightly echoed) lead vocals on "As You Will," a smart and brisk number. Willson-Piper gets a vocal lead himself with "The View," while the rarities wrap up with "Trance Ending," a nice blend of Middle Eastern percussion, vaguely Spanish guitar and sweet synthesizer.

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