Once unsuccessfully and incorrectly marketed as a sort of Australian R.E.M., the Church have spent more than two decades honing a very particular sound: unabashedly romantic, semipretentiously mystical, rhapsodic guitar rock, with whiffs of hookahs and old libraries. When they miss, their songs just lie there, a la every other college-rock band that put out a pretty but unmemorable record in the last quarter century. But when they hit, the interlaced guitars of Marty Willson-Piper and Peter Koppes transform Steve Kilbey's delicate tunes into rapturous hymns from the church of Saint Syd. Their newest record, Uninvited, Like the Clouds (Cooking Vinyl), like all their albums, has hits and misses, but the soar-to-splat ratio is far better than on 2003's aptly named Forget Yourself. The band's lineup is all original except for drummer Tim Powles, who's been with them since 1994. Former Catherine Wheel front man Rob Dickinson opens. Fri 8/18, 8 PM, Park West, 322 W. Armitage, 773-929-5959 or 312-559-1212, $25, 18+.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Tony Mott.