The Church: The Hypnogogue (Communicating Vessels) - review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Monday, June 24th, 2024  

The Church

The Hypnogogue

Communicating Vessels

Mar 23, 2023 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

With over 40 years and 25 albums to their name since forming in Sydney back in 1980, The Church have rightly earned their place as one of the most influential bands to emerge from the original wave of post-punk. Cited by a multitude of artists ever since as being an inspiration—Robert Smith and The Cure being particularly vocal fans—The Church are one of those bands that have become synonymous with many musicians’ style of playing and song arrangements.

So, the prospect of a new album—the band’s first since 2017’s Man Woman Life Death Infinity—is every bit as mouthwatering as it is dramatic. Enter The Hypnagogue, a concept record influenced by science fiction writer Philip K. Dick (perhaps best known for Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, which was adapted as Blade Runner, and A Scanner Darkly) that tells the story in 13 parts from the perspective of two fictional characters (“Sun Kim Jong” and “Eros Zeta”) about a mythic machine that extracts music directly from subconscious dreams.

It’s a fascinating record and also the first to feature the band’s current line-up with founder Steve Kilbey now the only remaining original member. Nevertheless, there’s clearly a chemistry between Kilbey and his four cohorts in what he describes as The Church’s “most teamwork record ever.”

If anything, The Hypnagogue reaffirms why this band have been held in high esteem for so long, as the swashbuckling former single “C’est La Vie” and pensive “Thorn” in particular beam with a radiant glow that emits throughout the entire album. Nevertheless, it’s the album’s closing couplet “Antarctica” and “Second Bridge” that elevates The Hypnagogue to even dizzier heights among the higher echelons of The Church’s already impressive canon. (

Author rating: 7.5/10

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Average reader rating: 9/10


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