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July 23, 2024

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The Church
Parallel Universe (Thirsty Ear)

By: Vinnie Apicella

We should've seen it coming-- but we didn't. And how could we? Nothing The Church seems to do, better than two decades now, seems to fall into complacency. Their timeless mix of majestic atmospherics with the cutting edge has afforded them a longevity few others could ever hope to boast of. When one thinks of the likes of REM, U2, Depeche Mode, all share similar qualities in achievement, heightened status, soaring sales, missteps, bumps in the road, and so forth, but equally, all have maintained an integral relationship amongst themselves and their fans and all have survived changing conditions to the world around them. The Church belongs there yet remain mysteriously separate. And so we might suggest their accomplishments to this point become all the more impressive without benefit of the hit single or soundtrack success. What the Australian aesthetic does is create rich, soulful sounds that encapsulate the mind on a multitude of elemental levels. They've gone the way of the Pop tilt in the past and been successful..."Starfish" was an attractive example of such; they've gone avant-garde to post-modernism on subsequent follow ups that were difficult to track by comparison, appreciable in their range of depth more so than the quick "Gold Afternoon" type fix. "After Everything Now This" revealed The Church's full range of motion earlier this year, stepping onto and across varied boundaries as one associates to Gothic music, Electronic, World, Pop, and Modern Rock and touching each so as to reveal itself momentarily, before shifting, hovering, orbiting from an advantageous viewpoint, to reconstruct and recreate vivid passages where all is one. "Parallel Universe" then, takes that work, remixes the ten tracks onto what is disc one, adding cerebrally drawn enhancements, some subtle, as with "Stay All Night" or "Radiant," relaxed and withdrawn, as they were meant to be, while at other times, sudden primal urges surface in the form of a potent dance beat with electronic impulses adding dimensionally ascending motifs to something like "Let y=x" and its "Survival mix" or the bass heavy groove of "Earthfriend (Version)." Disc two features six previously unreleased tracks drawn from different periods within the three years in the making "After Everything--" sessions, led by the stratospheric eleven minute opener, "1st Woman On The Moon," which wastes little time stretching the intuitive expanse. "Espionage" is a tightly drawn percussive follow up that's a precursor to the magnificently mixed "Reward," an effects driven masterpiece of dark wave and audio erotica; without question one of their finest moments on record. "There You Go" hushes to a momentary lull before "Twin Star" exits in a reroute to an earlier Gothic type chapter, languid and sudden, typical of the customary parameter shifts, past to present. "Parallel Universe" is an embodiment of The Church at their most passionate and provocative, where standards blend with deviation, pride with progress, all furthering the lift for another inspired flight of fancy for fashionably late fans.
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