Few bands enter their fifth decade of making music with all the fierce creative energy of their early years. Even fewer bands are like The Church.
Experiencing a renaissance of sorts with their worldwide critically-hailed 26th album The Hypnogogue and a world tour that took them through North America, the UK, Europe and Australia, The Church was met with fervent audiences who embraced not only their early catalog but their new material as well. UNCUT encapsulated this idea when they wrote in their 8 out of 10 review that “The Hypnogogue is like every other Church album, and nothing quite like any of them; both statements are intended as compliments.”
A monumental concept album, The Hypnogogue found The Church honing in on their bespoke sound without retreading creative steps, unveiling a cinematic record that couples their trademark psychedelic-splashed indie rock with a dystopian narrative – a first for the band. Featuring pre-album release singles “The Hypnogogue”, “C’est La Vie” and “No Other You,” the album offers a pool of melancholy tones and psychedelic swells, transporting listeners to another realm, guided by its striking science fiction narrative. Reading like a short story from visionary science fiction author Philip K. Dick (“A Scanner Darkly,” “Electric Dreams”), The Hypnogogue is a retro-futuristic, dystopian tale that revolves around a fictional machine (the “Hypnogogue”) that extracts music directly from subconscious dreams.
As fans’ love of the band grew with the advent of the new record and its new direction, critics embraced them too. Rolling Stone quipped, “In full flight, Kilbey plays the bass with a power and intent once reserved for ascending Lancaster bomber pilots in WWII.” Vive Le Rock rated it a 9 out of 10 and calls the album “a great leap forward, thanks to the incredible melting pot of talent that Kilbey is now stirring.” American Songwriter praised, “On The Hypnogogue, the quintet creates fluid moods, moving in idiosyncratic directions while maintaining the shadowy gaze that has defined The Church’s style.” Classic Rock hailed, “The Hypnogogue finds [Steve Kilbey] close to the top of his game… The best bands have the capacity to surprise even after decades at the coal face. That The Church remain so vigorous and vibrant is a delightful surprise indeed.”
To continue the excitement that the music world at large was experiencing, Steve Kilbey and band decided to further the storyline of the Hypnogogue by returning to the studio to add additional tracks for a deluxe edition of The Hypnogogue to be released this Fall 2023. While the digital companion to the album will be available worldwide on DSPs, a special physical deluxe edition will be available to purchase as a standalone physical format at merch on the upcoming U.S. dates.
Starting in 1980, The Church continued expanding their highly cinematic and atmospheric blend of indie rock, shimmering post-punk, icy dream pop and psychedelic post-rock without retreading their steps. Beginning with classic early albums ‘Of Skins and Heart’, ‘The Blurred Crusade’, ‘Heyday’ and ‘Starfish’. ‘Starfish’ was the 1988 album that broke into the mainstream and gave The Church the international hit ‘Under the Milky Way’. The hit single has been regarded as one of the most influential and recognizable Australian rock anthems of all time.
The renowned five-piece line-up is made up of bassist, vocalist and founder Steve Kilbey along with long- time collaborator, drummer and producer Tim Powles, who’s remained a staple across 17 albums since 1994. Joining them is guitarist Ian Haug, who has been strumming with the band since 2013 and formerly of Australian rock icons Powderfinger. Touring multi-instrumentalist Jeffrey Cain is now a full-time member since the departure of Peter Koppes in early 2020. Rounding out the members is the newly recruited Ashley Naylor, one of Australia’s finest guitarists and is a long-time member of Paul Kelly’s touring band. Entering their fourth decade as a band, The Church continue to remain a treasured creative force.