The Church – Hypnogogue (Album Review)

The Church – Hypnogogue (Album Review)

One the pioneers of Ethereal/Psychedelic-tinged New Wave / Jangle Pop music genres, The Church are back with their 26th overall full-length studio album. Yes, that is right the 26th… hence earning them the title of prolific. 

Formed back in 1980, The Church is well-loved in the New Wave community since their 1981-released debut record, Of Skins & Hearts, which rendered one of its first fan favorites, “The Unguarded Moment.” A slew of albums followed afterwards, powered by chart-topping carriers like “Already Yesterday,” “Reptile,” “Spark,” and the breakthrough single “Under the Milky Way.” 

Following up their 2017’s Man Woman Life Death Infinity, the Sydney, Australia originated band – currently consisting of founder Steve Kilbey (lead vocals, bass, keyboards, guitar) and members Tim Powles (drums, percussion, backing vocals, keyboards, guitar), Ian Haug (guitar, backing vocals), Jeffrey Cain (guitar, bass, backing vocals, guitar), and Ashley Namor (guitar) – unleashes the new album entitled Hypnogogue.

Released on Friday, February 24, 2023, via Communicating Vessels, The Church’s latest masterpiece is full of shimmering, chiming, and sonically hypnotic pieces of music. Their first ever concept record, Hypnogogue consists of thirteen tracks, and opens with the ominous “Ascendence,” which builds up into a swirl, reminiscent of the vintage “Is This Where You Live?” 

The guitar angularity becomes sharper as “C’est la Vie” plays next, whereas the upbeat “I Think I Knew” and the brooding ballad “Flickering Lights” will remind the listener of Kilbey’s bittersweet romanticism. This is while the title-track pulsates its somber sentiments, exuding echoes of The Cure’s seminal 2000 album Bloodflowers.

Moving on, “Albert Ross” continues the sense of contemplativeness, while “Thorn” is playful while “Aerodrome,” melodic and familiar. Thereafter, “The Coming Days” switches the ambience into something psychedelic and gothic. “No Other You,” on the other hand, is what may be described as Countryside Shoegaze. The Church then slow-burns the senses with the undulating sound of “Succulent.” Second-to-the-last is “Antarctica,” a dreamy, fuzzy, yet driving and intense song. Finally, The Church concludes the set aptly with “Second Bridge”- a slow piano-led, guitar-charged ballad.

After 43 years and 26 studio albums, Kilbey with the rest of The Church still delivers! Amidst the countless bands that populate the music world and social media at large, Church-believers should unite and delight in the music that has given them Psychedelic aspirations, Dreampop moments, and Shoegaze sensibilities. That is why Cryptic Rock gives Hypnogogue 4 out of 5 stars.

The Church – The Hypnogogue (2023) / Communicating Vessels

Like the in-depth, diverse coverage of Cryptic Rock? Help us in support to keep the magazine going strong for years to come with a small donation.
aLfie vera mella
[email protected]

Born in 1971, in Metro Manila, Philippines, aLfie vera mella is a healthcare worker, singer/songwriter, and editor/writer. He was the frontman of the ’90s-peaking Philippine Alternative Rock / New Wave band Half Life Half Death, which released a full-length album and several singles on Viva Records. aLfie worked at Diwa Scholastic Press as an editor/writer of academic textbooks and supplementary magazines, focusing on Science & Technology and English Grammar & Literature. In 2003, aLfie migrated to Canada; he has since been living in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He works full-time at a healthcare institution, while serving as the associate contributing editor of Filipino Journal—a local community newspaper in Winnipeg—tackling Literature, Languages, Cultures, Lifestyles, and Music. aLfie has been a music journalist since the mid-’90s for various print magazines as well as websites. He started writing album reviews for Cryptic Rock in 2015. In 2016, aLfie published Part One (Literature & Languages and Their Cultural Significance) of his Essay Series, Can You Hear the Sound of a Falling Leaf?; in 2021, his first book of poetry, Pag-íhip sa Dáhon ng Kahápon [Blowing Leaves of Yesterday]. In his spare time, he enjoys reading books and listening to music. aLfie is a dedicated father to his now 13-year-old son, Evawwen; and a loving husband to Kathryn Mella, who herself moonlights also as a writer aside from holding a degree in Bachelor of Arts, Major in Sociology.

No Comments

Post A Comment

Cryptic Rock
Show Buttons
Hide Buttons