A ringing 12-string guitar introduction. A dreamlike lyric that seems to hold the cosmos in its hands. It’s still the most recognisable, covered and widely beloved song in the catalogue of a band that’s released a remarkable 26 albums. And it’s 30 years old this year. The song is ‘Under The Milky Way’, from The Church’s most successful album, the undisputed classic ‘Starfish’.
In 2019, the Australian paisley underground pioneers are still enjoying the unique celebrations, which started with a sold-out appearance at the Meltdown Festival in London on the personal invitation of curator, The Cure’s Robert Smith.
They return to British shores with the following tour dates in order to mark another remarkable anniversary:
Sat 8th/Sun 9th June – ‘Of Seance and Starfish’ – The Church Weekend, Bush Hall, London
Mon 10th June – Manchester Club Academy
Tues 11th June – La Belle Angele, Edinburgh
For these shows, ‘Starfish’ will be performed in its entirety, along with a selection of other gems from the band’s career, which now spans an incredible 38 years.
Starfish remains best known for its iconic singles ‘Under The Milky Way’ and ‘Reptile’. But like all classic albums, it’s a journey – and it starts with ‘Destination’, the six-minute opus which opens the album.
From there, the list of hits, band and fan favourites is long. ‘Myrhh’, which leader Steve Kilbey described in his memoir ‘Something Quite Peculiar’ as the definitive Church song. ‘Ripple’, from the masterful ‘Priest=Aura’. Almost anything from 1982’s ‘The Blurred Crusade’. Expect songs from ‘Hologram of Baal’, itself celebrating its 20th anniversary. And, of course, there’s ‘The Unguarded Moment’, the single that launched the band onto world stages on its release in 1981.
But this is not just a nostalgia trip. The Church have been revitalised since 2014 with the addition of guitarist Ian Haug, formerly of another iconic Australian band, Powderfinger. “Ian is a big part of the band now,” Fellow guitarist Peter Koppes says. “He’s a consummate, intuitive musician with fantastic tones.”
Koppes goes on to sum up the band. “Music is like inner space and we’re astronauts,” he says. It’s a spellbinding thing, it’s hypnotising. That’s why people like it. It takes them into another world and we’re here to open those doors.”
The Church’s strange journey remains an endless sea of possibilities. it’s time for the band to celebrate one of their crowning glories, not to be missed.