The Church – The Hypnogogue: Album Review

The Church go all Prog Rock on album #26.

Release Date: 28th April 2023

Label: Easy Action Records

Format: CD / vinyl

The most prog rock thing we have ever done,” says The Church’s founder, singer and bassist, Steve Kilbey. That’s quite a statement. The fact that they’re managed to avoid the dreaded ‘P’ word in a career that’s seen the Australian Psych Rock legends deliver twenty-five albums finally sees them relent and head to 2054. Yes, it’s the scene of a dystopian and broken-down future that’s possibly closer to home than we can imagine. A bit like life in Eurovision. Science Fiction or Fact…? Read on…

The hypnogogue of the album title is a machine invented by Korean scientist and occultist Sun Kim Jong, devised to extract music straight from dreams. Maybe the next step for the download and streaming culture, the tale is played out by Kilbey and long-term collaborator / producer / drummer Tim Powles. They’re joined by guitarist Ian Haug, touring multi-instrumentalist Jeffrey Cain and new guitarist Ashley Naylor. Together they weave a mournful musical narrative that often skirts the Post Punk, Post Rock borders, with scattered rings of guitars and a disconnected vocal style. Our protagonist, Eros Zeta, travels to The Hypnogogue where he even co-writes No Other You with the creation, resulting in a piece which some have described as Bowie-esque.

The soft bounce and resigned delivery of I Think I Knew and the lonely ambience suggested by Flickering Lights contrast with the brooding urgency of the title track. The video for the latter is a claustrophobic interpretation that precedes the pretty acoustic Albert Ross – Zeta’s guitar tech, doomed forever to wander the halls of the Hypnogogue in search of his master’s tape – that lightens the musical mood and conjures up a quaint Drake/Cave vibe. A similar dreamy atmosphere works a treat in Aerodrome and the run into These Coming Days is a real treat as the psychedelic roots of The Church lead us off into obit before being grounded by the spidery guitar lines of the powerful Antarctica.

An album that seduces us into a feast of cosmic journeying, the Psych Rock trademark given an injection of evolution.

Here’s the title track:

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