The Church are soliciting comments and blurbs about their excellent Back with Two Beasts album for a program they're giving away for their 30th anniversary tour. The problem was that the album was so obscure upon its original release that no one ever listened to it, much less wrote up a review! For your pleasure, here's my submission:
The Church’s Back with Two Beasts is a guitar-lover’s dream. From the opening chiming chords of “Snowfaller” to the backwards clarion guitar licks of “I Don’t Know,” The Church make their guitars call, scream, sooth and rock, among other things. This wide range of sounds makes for an extremely eclectic album, one that includes highlights like the SciFi party song “Unreliable External”, the yearning “Anthem X” where Kilbey sings like Paul Westerberg over pulsing feedback, the ballad “Pearls” with a lovely aching chorus and excellent slide guitar, and the mellow groove of “Driving South”.
The story goes that these tight songs were supposedly (and surprisingly) intended as a jam disk. The only song that might fit that description is “Night Sequence”, a 20 minute beast that is less like a song than a continually changing exchange of musical ideas. It’s dynamic and alive, as the musicians play off each other, alternating leading and following each other through a musical journey of evolving, escalating tension.
While most albums these days contain at least one or two throwaway songs, this album is solid all the way through. Regardless if you listen to the songs in sequence or on shuffle, there’s not a bad tune in the bunch. I’ve always said that The Church are the kings of the perverse; the stuff that no one listens to is often their best music. Well, take note: the obscure Back with Two Beasts takes you to another place, one that I haven’t wanted to leave since I first started listening to it.