The Church – Welcome (90s – 62)

September 2, 2013

I’m Australia, and a kid of the ’80s, so Under The Milky Way Tonight by The Church is part of my music DNA. Like a lot of the bands of the era, Midnight Oil, Gangajang etc, I only heard the singles, never the album. And Oils aside, I never saw the albums, not in the CD shop, not in the library. Nowhere.

And then, years later, I stumbled across an actual album by the Church in the 2UNE music library. It was called Magician Among the Spirits, and the opening track was called Welcome.

The song is nothing more than a list of apparantly unconnected names. By the end of the song you learn they were all figures who inspired Steve Kilbey. But the music was so yearning: throbbing organs, crying guitars, questioning bass.

I’ve written before here how the covers of albums changes how I perceive the music. The cover is so black, a mirror to the supernatural nature of the album title, and the fact many of the names in Welcome have passed into history. And so when I hear the organ I hear shimmering blackness and the bass as patches of darkness. The feeling continues throughout the album.

This is not what I expected having come from Unguarded Moment and Under the Milky Way Tonight. Welcome is not the Church as I expected in the ’80s and early ’90s, but it became the Church I loved.


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