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Music / The Church

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The Church in 1986. Left to right: Steve Kilbey, Marty Willson-Piper, Richard Ploog, and Peter Koppes.

The Church is an Australian alternative rock band formed in 1980 in Sydney, consisting of Steve Kilbey on lead vocals and bass guitar, Peter Koppes and Marty Willson-Piper on guitars, and numerous drummer line-ups. Their music and lyrics are focused on surreal themes, along with Kilbey's relaxed, hypnotizing vocals. They were initially inspired by the Neo-Psychedelic and New Wave Music acts of the mid-1980's, but they turned to Progressive Rock and Dream Pop influence since Priest=Aura.

However, they are best known for the One-Hit Wonder "Under the Milky Way."

Membership (Founders in bold, current members in italics.

  • Steve Kilbey: Lead vocals, bass, keyboards. (1980-present)
  • Peter Koppes: Guitars, keyboards, vocals. (1980-1992, 1997-present)
  • Marty Wilson-Piper: Guitars, vocals, occasional bass. (1980-2013)
  • Ian Haug: Guitars, vocals. (2013-present)
  • Nick Ward: Drums, percussion. (1980-81)
  • Richard Ploog: Drums, percussion. (1981-90)
  • Jay Lee Daugherty: Drums, percussion. (1990-1993)
  • Tim Powles: Drums, percussion. (1993-present)


  • Studio Albums
    • Of Skins and Heart (1981)
    • The Blurred Crusade (1982)
    • Seance (1983)
    • Remote Luxury (1984)
    • Heyday (1986)
    • Starfish (1988)
    • Gold Afternoon Fix (1990)
    • Priest=Aura (1992)
    • Sometime Anywhere (1994)
    • Magician Among the Spirits (1996)
    • Hologram of Baal (1998)
    • A Box of Birds (1999)
    • After Everything Now This (2002)
    • Forget Yourself (2003)
    • Jammed (2004)
    • El Momento Descuidado (2005)
    • Back with Two Beasts (2005)
    • Uninvited, Like the Clouds (2006)
    • El Momento Siguiente (2007) - Acoustic versions plus several original songs
    • Shriek: Excerpts from the Soundtrack (2008)
    • Untitled No. 23 (2009)

The Church provides examples of:

  • Anti-Love Song: "Mistress"
  • Bowdlerize: "Hologram of Baal" was originally supposed to be called ''Hologram of Allah", but that was predictably withdrawn by the record company.
  • Cover Album: A Box Of Birds
    • It is a minor example though, since "Metropolis" was included on the their greatest hits album.
  • Epic Rocking: Giving the band's prog-rock influence, this is not surprising, especially after Priest=Aura.
    • Their longest track, "The Sexual Act" from the instrumental album Jammed, clocks in at just over 39 minutes.
    • "Night Sequence" clocks in at 20 minutes.
    • To a lesser extent, their Cover Version of Neil Young's "Cortez The Killer" is just over 11 minutes long.
  • List Song: "Numbers"
  • Long-Runner Line-up:
    • The lineup of Steve Kilbey, Marty Wilson-Piper, Peter Koppes and Tim Powles is a type 2, lasting from 1997 when Koppes rejoined the band, to 2013 when Wilson-Piper left, totaling 16 years.
    • The lineup of Kilbey, Koppes, Wilson-Piper and Richard Ploog barely missed being one with a 9 year linup (81-90)
  • The Something Song: "The Coffee Song"
  • Reptiles Are Abhorrent: "Reptile", natch, but Zig-Zagged in that there are strong undertones of Evil Is Sexy and You Sexy Beast in its metaphors; while she may have been poisoning their life, there's part of him that misses the Femme Fatale.
  • Word Salad Lyrics: Being fellow psych-rockers, this is also not surprising.