Man Woman Life Death Infinity
The Church are icons of the independent underground. They began their career as part of the 80’s New Wave movement, but have evolved the style over the years, helping to open the genre far beyond its poppy box. Man Woman Life Death Infinity is their 26th album and it shows. The album is a brilliant piece of melancholy that is solid evidence that the band have continually been an influence on everyone from U2 and Depeche Mode to The Flaming Lips to Kamikaze Girls.
What I love most about this album is its sort of “unified diversity.” The band cover a lot of ground here, but all of it is seen through the same filter which makes it tremendously cohesive in both sound and mood. An example of this would be “Dark Waltz.” While it’s got the familiar melancholy, ambient mood to it, it’s practically a Bob Dylan song. The phrasing of the verses and the bluesy (albeit slow) guitar work remind me a lot of Dylan’s brooding Time Out of Mind album. Meanwhile, “Another Century,” has a poppier feel with a catchy as hell chorus, yet neither seem out of place here.
Other highlights include the crisp, clear sound of “Something Out There Is Wrong,” which offers a bit of psychedelia that harkens back to the bands early works (think David Bowie, early Pink Floyd, and Syd Barrett’s solo work). “For King Knife” even takes it a step further by featuring more story-oriented lyrics and lots of cool guitar effects. “Undersea” offers a Gothier feel, without drowning you in it, and is hands-down my personal favorite track on the record.
While The Church albums can vary greatly from release to release, this one is as solid as they come. It’s spectacular from start to finish and it’s fairly short run time helps keep you focused and attentive on the ride through the outer limits. This band’s influence on music is undeniable and if you haven’t ever explored their storied catalog, then this is a surprisingly great place to start. Who would have thought that a band’s 26th album would be their arguable masterpiece?
Reviewed by mark1340