Top 10 Albums By The Church

Photo: Anna Hanks, CC BY 2.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

The Church have been on the scene since around 1982 when Steve Kilbey founded the group in Sydney, Australia.  It was fairly popular down under, and as more albums would show, they became more ethereal, psychedelic, with a touch of Pink Floyd and The Byrds, but with his lilting soft bass vocals and guitars combined with the interplay of guitarists Peter Koppes and Marty Willson-Piper that sometimes were so enmeshed one could barely tell them apart.  The massive success of the single “Under The Milky Way” from their biggest selling album Starfish opened many doors and with their penchant for experimentation, The Church was always their dreamy self, but never repetitive.   Here’s 10 albums for those who love psychedelic “trippy” atmosphere and just brilliant and beautiful music.

The Church released their first album entitled Of Skins And Hearts in 1981. From that point on the band released The Blurred Crusade (1982) Seance (1983) Heyday (1985) Starfish (1988) Gold Afternoon Fix (1990) Priest=Aura (1992) Sometime Anywhere (1994) Magician Among the Spirits (1996) Hologram of Baal (1998) After Everything Now This (2002) Forget Yourself (2003) Jammed (2004) Uninvited, Like the Clouds (2006) Untitled #23 (2009) Further/Deeper (2014) and Man Woman Life Death Infinity in (2017).

Here is our favorite 10 albums from the band The Church. We highly recommend checking out this band especially for for those who love psychedelic “trippy” atmosphere and just brilliant and beautiful music.

10)  Man Woman Life Death Infinity

We open up our top 10 albums by the Church with their most recent released entitled Man Woman Life Death Infinity. The album was released in 2017The band reportedly has a replacement for guitarist Ian Haug, who replaced Marty Willson-Piper, and another new guitarist in the wings for a new album to be issued before long.  But this most recent release was a welcome album that was more dreamy and ethereal than the last couple albums before it.  It is indeed more reminiscent of After Everything, Now This, and that’s a good thing.

 9)   Of Skins and Hearts

The band’s first album was also the most rocking. The album was released in 1982. This great record entitled Of Skins and Heart contained a few gems in Australia’s charts like “The Unguarded Moment”, some harder rocking guitar with Peter Koppes taking the lead role.  “Is This Where You Live” is a spacey rocking cut, and the album overall is quite different.  Think of the label at that height in the New Wave craze in 1982 trying to find another Duran Duran.  Important because it does show where their sound started to gel.

 8)  Gold Afternoon Fix

The follow up to Starfish is a languid affair for the most part.  It benefitted from being right after Starfish but it has some truly “golden” moments itself.  “Monday Morning”, “City” and “Disappointment” are as beautiful as The Church can get. The album’s lead single entitled “Metropolis”  hit number one on the US Billboard Modern Rock Tracks charts.  The album Gold Afternoon Fix was released in 1990.

 7)  Heyday  

If one term can be used to describe an album, “luxurious” is perfect for this brilliant album.  How The Church managed to totally capture the essence of the Marco Polo Silk Road vibe is beyond hearing, but with one of the most beautiful guitar songs ever with “Tristesse” and the equally impressive “Happy Hunting Ground” the listener feels like they’re in the presence of greatness in somebody’s castle.

 6)  The Blurred Crusade

The second album entitled The Blurred Crusade was the defining one for which all Church music would follow. The Blurred Crusade was released in 1982.  The sounds of Willson-Piper’s 12 string Rickenbacker and outer space vibe on “Fields Of Mars”, and the centerpiece “You Took” are just two great songs here. The album’s opening track Almost With You was released as the record’s first single from the album. The band followed up that single with the release of the cut “When You We Mine.” This album has been listed in the top 100 Australian rock album releases of all time in the bands native home of Australia.

 5)  Magician Among The Spirits

 This is an incredibly rich album.   Kilbey in particular was very fond of the title track, a 13 minute seance of quiet and sanguine music that could, if any music was able, raise the spirits from their slumber.   The album has some more accessible pop rock –  “Ladyboy” and “Come Down” could and should have been great ’80’s guitar pop songs.  The only clunker is “The Ritz”, but the rest is magic.

 4)  After Everything Now This

 A truly beautiful album, with melodies a mile long and wide.  This is one of pop rock’s gentlest guitar albums, but absolutely gorgeous, especially “The Awful Ache” and “Night Friends”.

 3)  Remote Luxury

 This started out as a couple EP’s on the Australian market but the band decided to re-release them as a single album, and for a pairing of different releases it works surprisingly well.   The band’s most poppy album but with “Shadow Cabinet”, “Constant In Opal” and “No Explanation” one can only wonder how this escaped the attention of the Top 40 world.

 2)  Priest=Aura  

This album may be the most beautiful of all their albums.   It almost defies explanation, the guitars doing such a great job of creating atmospheres and gentle waves of melody.   Many Church fans including Steve Kilbey consider this perhaps their greatest album.

 1)  Starfish

At number one on our top 10 albums by The Church is the record Starfish. This great album was easily their most successful album. Starfish was home to “Under The Milky Way,” the absolutely breathtaking single that eventually pushed the album to gold status. The album is truly their centerpiece in the midst of their other albums.  The songs are very very strong, the melodies instantly memorable, and its interplay between the musicians has never been tighter. There were four singles released from the Starfish album. Single releases were still a big deal in the 1980s especially in the United States where the Church had their most commercial success with the Starfish album. “Under The Milky Way,” was released as the first single from the album. The song was also featured in an episode of the hit shows of the 1980s entitled Miami Vice. The songs “Reptile, Destination and Antenna,” were released as subsequent singles. The album Starfish is highly recommended as a starting point for a truly amazing band.

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However, I was at the right place at the right time for this one. Steve Ostromogilsky had a Berklee College of Music lunch card and used to sneak out sandwiches for me. One day, he invited me to hang out at his place and listen to music. As we got off the train, he put Sony Walkman headphones on my ears and said, "Hey, check out this brand-new group." A song like "It's So Easy" was so different from the popular Sunset Strip sound at that time. Me and about 499 other informed rockers were lucky enough to see them on their first East Coast tour at the sold-out Paradise on Commonwealth Avenue, Boston (the same street Aerosmith started on). I saw Gn'R every tour after until I took a break when Buckethead joined. Gn'R is the band I've been lucky enough to see the most times live, almost 100! Everyone on this album is just stellar. Axl [Rose] had the tones, power, melodic sensibilities, and foresight to do what no other singer did then. Slash's playing was beyond memorable. Duff [McKagan] is one of the most underrated bassists in rock history, and learning his Appetite basslines is a masterclass. Steven [Adler] had the natural swing, and Izzy [Stradlin] was the secret weapon songwriter. Everything that's been heralded about this gem is deserved and true. Check out "It's So Easy," "Out Ta Get Me," and "Mr. Brownstone.' 7) Wish You Were Here by Pink Floyd (1975) Another contender for my favorite album and band of all time. Using The Beatles machine (same recording studio, engineer, record label), Pink Floyd made what I feel is their strongest, most cohesive album (my second favorite of theirs would be Animals). This list mainly consists of bands with an instantly recognizable sound. Floyd is certainly no exception to that! This album included a solid handful of undeniable rock radio classics, bookended by two halves of the mind-blowing song "Shine on You Crazy Diamond.' That song was written about former band member and founder Syd Barrett. 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I'll never forget it! Unfortunately, Bon would be gone in 6 months. Check out "Walk All Over You," "Touch Too Much," "Shot Down in Flames," and "If You Want Blood (You Got It)." 4) Toys in the Attic by Aerosmith (1975) By the time I heard this, I was now in my teens. I had a childhood friend up the street, Jim Linberg (we're still good buddies). His older sister had a great album collection, including Toys in The Attic. Once I heard that groove, my taste changed. I lost interest in rock music that didn't have some sort of "swing" feel to it. I think Rocks is a slightly better Aerosmith album (and possibly my favorite album of all time), but both are perfect or very close. Check out "Uncle Salty," "Adam's Apple," "No More No More," "Round and Round," and "You See Me Crying." 3) Alive! by Kiss (1975) When I was still a little kid, I asked for Cheech and Chong's Up in Smoke album for Christmas. The entire family came over for an enormous feast, and I dropped the needle. When my mother heard the content, she turned off the album and said I had to exchange it. My mom was cool, but I was young and knew much more about life than she suspected. Anyway, the next day, she drove me back to the store. In the music section, promoted on an "endcap" was a Kiss Alive! display. I had never heard of Kiss, but that cover picture told me I had to have it! My first foray into hard rock. Check out “Strutter.” I went through my Kiss phase very quickly, I believe in a matter of months because I discovered the previous entry, Aerosmith's Toys in the Attic. 2) Honky Chateau by Elton John (1972) When I was a wee lad, my parents bought a used Volkswagen camper van from my uncle Ozzie. My favorite Elton John album is Yellow Brick Road, but Honky Chateau is great and easily one of his best. It sent me down a lifelong rabbit hole of loving everything about the 1970s partnership between Elton and lyricist Bernie Taupin. 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