The Church need no introduction. After over three decades of making music in various formats, lineups, places and cognitive states, this is a band who have committed, even succumbed, to exploring unchartered sonic territories. The next chapter comes in the form of new music, a new band member and a chance for that to be shared with old fans and new ones through the release of The Church’s 25th studio album titled Further/Deeper, which will be released in North America on February 3rd 2015. 2015 also marks the 35th anniversary of the band.
At this stage of the journey, Further/Deeper seems both unimaginable and the only option on their endless quest from chaos to resolution. It's an album of breathtaking new vistas and intense emotions, of sinister black caskets and gorgeous caverns of light, a work born of immense struggle and effortless expression.
"The magic started on day one," says singer/bass player Steve Kilbey. "Someone strummed a chord or struck a drum or plucked a note and we were off. We wrote and recorded like demons and it was inspiring to feel every member using all his resources in the service of this record."
With longtime member Marty Willson-Piper being unavailable, Ian Haug (Powderfinger) has come on board to partner the iconic guitar playing of founding member Peter Koppes. Alongside Steve Kilbey, stalwart drummer Tim "timEbandit" Powles - who also produced the album with the band, Haug has helped the quartet to together discover a new textural dimension, and has acted, according to Kilbey, as a “blood transfusion that has brought us back to life.”
Twenty-six songs were born over eight days of exploration in Sydney in late 2013. Guitarist Peter Koppes, recalibrating his personal canvas in the absence of his long-time foil Willson-Piper, drew palpable inspiration from the quartet's remixed chemistry. "This new incarnation of the band with Ian Haug has brought a joyous energy to the music we've written together," he says. "The rhythm swings more than usual yet the moods still range from melancholy pop to our modern version of heavy psychedelic rock, as in ‘Laurel Canyon’, to the epic gothic-progressive dance track, ‘Globe Spinning’."
From the ominous allure of the lead track, “Vanishing Man,” to the beguiling tippy toes of “Pride Before A Fall;” the chiming keys of “Love Philtre” to the sheer hammer horror “Toy Head;” the exhilarating breeze of “Old Coast Road” and the ultimate, panoramic drama of the mini-screenplay that is “Miami,” Further/Deeper, delivers on the promise of its title in a combined blossoming of melody, rhythm and audacity.
For Ian Haug, transitioning from the multi-platinum ashes of his previous band Powderfinger to join "one of my favorite bands of all time" was an utterly surreal experience, audibly expressed in fantastic new dimensions of the church's fabled ‘guitarchitecture’."
"The first song we wrote was ‘Miami,’ and from there we splintered off into several styles of surreal to intense psychedelia — and songs to make you drive fast," he says. "It was a trip. And an incredible honor to be accepted so readily into a songwriting as well as guitar-playing role."
Drummer Tim Powles was again instrumental in the painstaking alchemy that boiled the explosion of ideas down to 12 potent pieces in the early months of 2014, a process that often saw members working simultaneously in separate studios across multiple instruments to produce a work of singular cohesion.
"After an eternal twenty years in The Church I marvel more than ever at how we've become masters of our own freedom," he says. "No strings attached, no view to winning a prize. How lucky are we? Or have we earned it? We've got better at it too. Or maybe it's got the better of us. It seems to devour us. Like magic."
The first taste of Further/Deeper comes in the form of the track “Pride Before A Fall.” The ballad introduces us to the next step in the church's sound, and while embracing the signature psych leanings fans have come to know and love, 'Pride Before A Fall' is proof that the band are making music that is both futuristic and relevant.
The video for the track debuted today at RollingStone.com:
A North American tour is in the works with details to be announced shortly.
Further/Deeper Track Listing
Pride Before A Fall
Old Coast Road
Let Us Go