The Church: Before “Under the Milky Way”

Posted: September 29, 2014 in Alternative, Band Profiles, New Wave, Post-Punk
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One of my favorite songs from the early ‘80s was “The Unguarded Moment” by The Church. I remember seeing the video on MTV and promptly getting my tape recorder ready in hopes that it would be shown again (that’s how we did things before VHS recorders). There wasn’t much to the video, just the band performing the song on a studio soundstage with very little visual effects. It didn’t matter though, the guitar intro alone was enough to grab my attention. I heard little more from the band until their US success in the late ‘80s. It wasn’t until recently that I decided to track down more of their earlier work to see what else I might have missed.

Most people were first introduced to The Church through their 1988 hit “Under the Milky Way,” off the album Starfish. It was an international hit and peaked at #26 on the US charts. But within their native Australia, the group had been churning out hits since 1981. Formed in Sydney in 1980, the band had an infectious post-punk, guitar-heavy psychedelic sound. The group released their first album, Of Skins and Heart, in 1981 to good commercial success. The album was later repackaged and released in the US in 1982 as The Church. Their second album, 1982’s The Blurred Crusade, performed well in Australia but wasn’t released in the US, as it was considered not radio-friendly enough for North American audiences. By the ‘90s their sound had gone more mainstream, bordering on progressive rock. They continue to tour and record and will release their 25th studio album, Further/Deeper, in late 2014.

“The Unguarded Moment” was the second single released from their debut album, Of Skins and Heart. It peaked at #22 on the Australian charts and led one Rolling Stone critic to describe it as The Church’s “1981 jangling gem.”


The song “Dropping Names” is from the band’s third album, 1983’s Seance, which found the group gravitating to more of an atmospheric sound.



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