The Church

Uninvited, Like the Clouds

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The Church, like their namesake, are capable of both beautiful and terrifying things. Uninvited, Like the Clouds, their seemingly hundredth album since 1980, has everything an adoring fan could want, and all the ammunition a detractor could carry. Steve Kilbey, Marty Willson-Piper, Peter Koppes, and newest member Tim Powles have constructed a bloated, beautiful, unsettling storm of a record that manages to celebrate improvisation and songcraft without any favoritism, resulting in their most cohesive record since 1992's underrated Priest = Aura. Epic dreamscapes like "Block" and "Day 5" are as timeless as they are sonically progressive, but what rings truest about them is their affection for melody. Kilbey's laconic drawl has always been more of an instrument than a literary weapon, but his words -- despite their rambling, fridge-magnet dreaminess -- have always been in the service of the song. Even when they stretch their collective legs into the unforgiving world of pop, specifically on the "Metropolis"-esque "Easy," they maintain a definitive yet world-weary level of poise that can only come from the oldest of souls. Uninvited, Like the Clouds -- like 2003's Forget Yourself -- won't win the group any new fans, but it may be the just a shiny enough apple to lure the brethren back into the garden.

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