posted on April 5, 2017 at 5:01 pm

zeitgeist #82/83

(blog commissioned by KN)

boy in 1982 i was somebody else

and i was making my third album

i was a confused little pouting ninny

our 2nd album had done pretty good

but an EP called sing-songs had kinda bombed

so here we are

late 1982 after a tour taking in sweden where i met karin jansson

in australia i was dating that glamorous newsreader

yeah you know who i mean

the heroin years still 8 years ahead of me

angular blah blah blah

living in terrace house with russell in rozelle

lots of people sitting around taking drugs

scruffy young art college types

bonging on and smoking cigs

white wine and negative photos and clothes patterns and demo tapes

open fire me and russell both slightly pyro playing around with it

the phone rings with girls asking for russell

our voices are similar

sometimes they think i am him and its embarrassing

when i say no actually thats my brother...

i got my studio in the front room

i gotta 4 track tape recorder

and im knocking out tunes by the dozen

i go in there and i fire up the equipment

i gotta tr808 drum machine

which is responsible for a lot of the drum patterns on seance

unfortunately

demo-itis had gripped the recording of seance by the balls

the demo versions were too closely adhered to and it was my fault

the songs never got to really blossom and flow like on blurred crusade

and again on heyday

they remain kinda rigid

lyrically i seem to be playing the part of some Byron-esque melancholia addict

reaching through a medium to find my dead fiancee or whatever the fuck its supposed to be

the agony of separation

the romance of death

the triumph of love

puh-lease! spare me…

anyway back in 1982/3 this is where my head was at

total demos

every song sounds just like a well recorded demo

i have 2 great guitarists and a great drummer

but they ended up mostly playing the stuff from the demos

i dunno if i intended it to be this way

but i can see now what a bad idea it actually was

the songs never breathe

locked into these formats i have devised

every instrument plays its counterpoint pattern

everything is made up of little patterns

the drums the bass the guitars the tinkly keyboard bells things

listen to one day made up of interlocking riffs

only at the end of the guitar solo does any freedom happen

the whole thing was totally compounded

when EMI in their wisdom insisted on hot shot wunderkind Nick Launay mixing it

Launay had done some great work with midnight oil and rejuvenated their sound

but his early eighties box of electronica tricks makes the church sound merely dated

i dont blame him

he had his one special sound at that stage and thats what you got him in for

anyway seance ended up sounding boxy and tinny and flat instead of big and soft

i couldnt do anything about it

it was beyond my power to stop it

the whole album is a weird proposition i think

its always the album those old style church fans like

we rarely play anything off it either

its got that great cover picture taken by russells girlfriend kim

its got that ridiculous track travel by thought

‘a stoned jam that never should have made it into the studio let alone out again’

(said someone in melody maker i think)

its got that great joy division influenced track it doesnt change

its got that great opener fly

(the girl dies in the first song so bloody miserable is seance)

theres a few flashes of sunlight but mostly its sad doomed love stuff

4th form poetry and slightly clunky songs

i dunno now its so long ago

i listened to it last night before i wrote this

its ok i guess but a feeling that the bands wings are clipped often pervades

this was the album where i was at the height of my control freak period

i had it all figured out exactly how it should be and i oversaw the whole thing

we were victims of the zeitgeist and there is definitely some dated ideas in there

some underdone songs

and a load of flat singing

flat as a freaking tack jack

one review said that my voice made the one note samba look tuneful

it was a hugely pretentious affair but so fucking what?

i wanted to make a sad but triumphant album

i wanted seance to be a gambit

i knew that somewhere some people in the future would totally dig it

i knew it would probably not do that well at the time of its release

for one glorious week it entered the charts at 13 in australia before falling like lead

in england it managed to go in for one week at 42

its incredible to think it was 35 years ago that we did this record and that people still like it

if you have listened to seance recently please give it a review in the comments

(if you’d care to)

yeah seance 

as one  nasty review said:

close but no sugar lamp

 

 

 

 

41 Responses to “The making of Seance”

  1. avatar
    GuidedByConstellations | 5 April 2017 at 9:08 pm #

    Appears that I agree with most of your perspectives here. It’s not an album I’m fanatical about, but I believe it’s largely due to Launay’s production not aging well. It’s a pity really. Midnight Oil’s 10-1 has sensational production and his mixing on Arcade Fire’s Neon Bible and The Suburbs are impressive.
    Seance, itself, is remiscent of The Smiths and, as you said, Joy Division. Perhaps too much so; I believe it derives too much away from The Church’s organic sound (especially on Heyday). And whilst the lyrics aren’t as first rate as others on future albums, they’re certainly not distasteful. Electric Lash has always been a sing along personally and Travel By Thought’s deviance and digression from the rest of the album is always a highlight.

  2. avatar
    simulacra | 6 April 2017 at 12:23 am #

    As someone who is a fan of virtually everything you have recorded, Seance is one of my favorites.
    If I could only have 3 Church records, it would definitely be one of them. I have always strongly preferred it over The Blurred Crusade. Though TBC may have been a more democratic record,
    I think Seance benefits from a more singular vision, perhaps due to the adherence to the demos.
    The songs seem to resonate more. I don’t think the record sounds dated when compared to other records from that year. Oddly, when I think of The Church’s signature guitar sound I think of Seance first.

    I was 16 when Heyday came out which was my first Church record. I was familiar with “The Unguarded Moment” but the records in between were hard to come by in rural America. Fast forward two years later when I got a show at my college radio station and they had the entire imported back catalog. I remember playing “Fly” on my my first (late night) show and all was right with the world. Then I fell deeply for Earthed and Unearthed.

    This was just before Starfish and luckily everything was soon re-released in the US so I could procure my own copies. The first night my (now) wife stayed over we listened to Starfish repeatedly. In an apartment with no heat, I had to leave the comfort of the bed covers every 25 minutes or so to flip the side. I think of this every time I hear UTMW.

    I’m sure you have heard similar tales so many times they have lost their meaning, but your music has played an important role in the lives of many and it is forever intertwined with some of our most precious memories.

    Though I understand why Seance might fall short in your view, it’s special to many of us and you should be proud of it.
    I still listen to it quite often.

    I’m thankful for all you have given us.

  3. kevinbreton
    kevinbreton | 6 April 2017 at 2:41 am #

    Tr-808!! Man!! I’ve owned the linn drum and the Oberheim dx. I asked Tim why you guys never used the simmons V? He said he didn’t know lol. If you’d plugged that 808 into the V man…. Only sayin lol. From a former fellow control freak playing a jupiter 8 in high school. Kilbey. I was addicted to these old songs seance is a huge favorite. I actually love this little EPs including sing songs! “It doesn’t change”. Man that tune I think to myself. Why…the…heck… Do people go around even wearing joy division shirts in the first place?! I’m going to look at the track listings and write a proper review. But I can tell you. Mr Kilbey Sir, those songs were / are a light in my life. So be it a dim one being. I lived a lonely lonely life for a long time. And on my walks at night. These songs followed me. Haunted me. Breathed life into a half dead soul. For years I thought that “no explanation” was the prettiest tune if ever heard. I listened to it I’m sure hundreds of. times. Yea. That early church albums. Man. I don’t know if people will ever see the hidden treasures. Not sayin I’m better than anyone I don’t believe in superiority. But there’s a story like joy division or whatever’s got. Band then there’s the music. Just the raw sound and very few understand the music. It’s true. You rock K

  4. kevinbreton
    kevinbreton | 6 April 2017 at 3:08 am #

    My review of seance…. It rocks. All of it. I play electric lash on my rickenbacker 12 string all the time. Coolest vid in el mundo. Playing in a dark forest man. Something I dreamed of as a kid. And hey now I’m a 30yr old kid! And I’ve found it! Only one thing ya ever really know. If it’s day or night. My favorite….” Now I wonder why”. Ok. From my hearing. You got like the classic Kilbey beat with the double snare alternating against a single snare. Is it like a new wave bossa nova with no swing? By golly. Whatever it be. It’s better than bossa nova or new wave. Then comes in the totally ricbacker jangle with very few effects from mr MWP! Man! What a jangle riff there. I know it too on guitar. Manipulating a d major chord. I don’t think there would have been rock or jangle without that! It’s like a baroque pop tune with the melodic bass going countralyntally with the vocals. And it goes into ambiguous corner sections not minor! But twisted only to coalesce into the main section. The words are a bit unclear. What new waver could ask for more? But it’s got the feel if I guess baroque pop – substitute the harpsichord with the 12 string. And bam 1982- 4 years before my conception. I basically think you guys did a great few EPs there. You don’t have to wonder the fact that there’s a 30yr old American British “trelane” out there who’ll be listening to these “obscurities” years n years from now. “It was somebody a woman….” True gems. I’m sorry you got into the H Kilbey. I found hologram of Baal at a record store when I was 18 and I was dusappointed. This Seance stuff is what I like the best. I got into oh boy “prescription drugs” that I’ll never get off and if it means anything to ya. I’ve been there. Lots a places. But not all. Every man has his unique battles. His unique destiny too. These songs aren’t bad. Dead. Nothing’s perfect except when you accept it exactly how it is. So in short ….” Only the voice of the girl on the radio drifting from her heights”….? Much love to ya’ll

  5. kevinbreton
    kevinbreton | 6 April 2017 at 3:29 am #

    I still am that confused ninny boy too. But I got…. Ritalin! Har ha. But as far as forest music vids n baroque pop my non church recommendation is kate bush-“wuthering heights” where she dances in a red dress in the most beautiful scenery with the craziest melodies. Man. I’ll stop overloading your blog here starting now! In the words if kate bush “I hated you. I loved you too!”

  6. avatar
    brutusw@aol.com | 6 April 2017 at 6:25 am #

    Hi Steve,

    I agree with all that you mentioned. I think Marty said at one point, that it’s a product of it’s time. Mentioning that 80’s gated drumming style. That’s a good thing or a bad thing I guess. I take it for what it is, one more progression of the Church sound. The beauty I find in the Church albums over the decades is that each album has it’s own thing happening. Each is unique but yet similar to the others… If that makes sense. I appreciate Seance. I love Dropping Names, Fly, It’s No Reason, Disappear. It’s like when bands start to think about re-doing a past albums. In their words, “the way it should have been done”. I think U2 even said that about their album POP. Beatles had it done with Let It Be a few years ago. It was mixed to Mono or something like that. Dunno, maybe it would be cool to redo Seance the way it should or could have been????? title it, “oh no, not another Seance”…..That’s a poor attempt at a joke.

    Regardless, I love it all. Cheers!!! Sean

  7. avatar
    vitrack | 7 April 2017 at 12:07 am #

    There are three pink things I can’t live without… the Pink Panther, Pink Floyd and Seance. I’ve tried year after year to find more music that was capable of recreating the same vibe/feel as Seance does, but I’ve gave up. It’s impossible. The dreamy vocals, the guitars, the bass lines, the synthesizers… Everything blends into something that transcends.

    Many people have voted Seance as the #116th best disc of 1983 in the following website:

    https://rateyourmusic.com/release/album/the_church/seance/

  8. avatar
    Noah | 7 April 2017 at 3:44 am #

    I listened to this again last night. If The Church, with MWP, recorded this album again today it would be the best album in the world.

  9. avatar
    kell | 7 April 2017 at 12:13 pm #

    I love ‘Seance’. Always will. There’s my review. Especially the songs ‘One Day’ & ‘Disappear’; ‘One Day’ is actually quite joyful.

  10. avatar
    WJS | 7 April 2017 at 1:36 pm #

    Seance is once of my favorite Church records because it IS very much OF ITS Time.

    I don’t understand why this is a bad thing–music and nostalgia for different eras is a pleasant thing to me. It will forever be associated with a certain era when music was incredibly important. I remember where I was when I got this on compact disc, and where it was prominently displayed in record stores all throughout Minneapolis. When Arista acquired the catalog, they created the “Remote Luxury” album and they cranked out all of the titles before Starfish. They stacked them up in record stores, and they put them in order. Of Skins and Heart, you knew it was the first one, and Heyday was the last one before the breakthrough. Seance sat in the middle of the pile, stunning cover and all. You couldn’t just buy one. You had to have them all.

    I’ll never forget thinking, what other band had a slew of better records than this? This is treasure.

    I remember putting this on whenever I had the time to sit and actually listen to it through speakers and through headphones. Fantastic stuff! I like it all. The synthesizers and the space in the songs and the drumming and the thought behind it all. Not dreck to me, not insignificant at all. This is what defined the ideal of holding this in your mind and living in the meditation of it all. Who has time for that now? Nice work if you can get it. I’m lucky when this cycles through randomly in the car. But, no! This is for speakers and quiet rooms.

    To understand the album, yes, you have to remember everyone was much younger and looking for that elusive big hit, that thing that would secure a place in the world from which to look out from. If you’re making your third album after an EP just bombed, you’d be a nervous wreck, too, and you’d overdo it. So, I don’t look unkindly at the effort because it is of its time and that’s a good thing.

    What makes it stand out? The swing and miss variety of songs? The clumsy snare drum overdub on what is the finest and most jangly of all early Church singles? The use of fast songs and slow songs to walk you through a version of the world that you wanted to exist? Combined as a whole, these songs really do stand up and hold their own. Do you like Future Islands? They use the synth sound and the heart-on-the-sleeve vocals to reach out and try to do something that is not ordinary. Do you like those moody shoe gazers and their flat vocals and distorted crawl? They owe a bit to this album. Do you think Bowie was content to crank out the same thing every year and a half? Seance is an album of dark atmosphere, and if it had to be done once, at least it wasn’t run into the ground and recycled for the masses.

    I view the whole thing as essential listening if you want to understand “why it feels so good to feel so sad.” I view it as something that definitely inspired people to wander into darker places and look for sounds that could not be made safe for Radio Disney. It is one of a set. All of the Church albums are a thing I take from place to place, digitally catalogued and saved for eternity. I have the vinyl and the CDs, but all of that is stored so it can never be lost. If you have it, you’re never getting rid of it, are you?

    When was the last time you saw Seance in the used bin?

  11. avatar
    Peter G | 7 April 2017 at 4:07 pm #

    There’s one very good reason any Church fan should own Seance and that’s “Disappear?”. Easily in the top 5 of anything The Church or its individual members have ever done.

  12. avatar
    Wayno | 7 April 2017 at 7:42 pm #

    Seance is not at the top of my list of Church albums but it’s not a bad album by any means. I certainly did my best to wear out my vinyl and tape versions in my youf. Fly is a great opener, as you say, and segues perfectly into One Day which has always seemed to me to be infused with youthful optimism (right through to the yelp at the end). This song has received a bit of love in recent history and deservedly so. It’s No Reason and Disappear hold up pretty well, the later sounding a bit warmer than the rest of the album, almost Blurred Crusade-ish. Electric Lash might be slightly cheesy (and it has THAT snare sound), but the middle section is sublime with it’s repetitive slide motif that then goes through a few changes and breaks down before the song picks up again. Now I Wonder Why is one of the highlights for me with its funky, fretless sounding bass and a great stereo mix of sparkly ethereal jingle jangle guitar. It Doesn’t Change might be Joy Division influenced but it builds wonderfully, with some great bass runs, and is a fine closer for Seance. As the inner groove says, “Just sit back & listen”!

  13. avatar
    Michel | 8 April 2017 at 4:26 am #

    As a coincidence, Seance is actually playing in my car.
    I really enjoy it now !
    I bought Seance and The Blurred Crusade on the same day in 1989 : immediately The Blurred Crusade became my favorite…
    I hate Electric Lash, Fly should have been the last track and not the opener, most of the songs seem unfinished, but many are great and epic ones (One Day, Disappear?, It Doesn’t Change…). And Richard Ploog is really at his best in Dropping Names.
    I even love Travel By Thought : it is one of my best drugs (remember music is the only drug, the others are terribly useless). And don’t tell me it is because I am a stupid frenchman and the Marseillaise is played in it, I already know that !

  14. avatar
    rivertribe | 8 April 2017 at 9:09 am #

    I love this self analysis. We’re good at being brutal with ourselves….had a similar experience 2 albums ago. I traveled the world and recorded amazing people but then the bulk of the tracking was stolen by a band member who used it on his own recordings….then I just over-thought and over-controlled the whole thing. one track gets used on movie soundtracks a lot…but the rest, I’m not even sure where that stuff came from, some deluded dream universe that I will never re-visit. Blessings to you Steve.

  15. avatar
    kell | 8 April 2017 at 11:45 am #

    Also, it’s a great Autumnal album

  16. avatar
    Gordon from Scotland | 9 April 2017 at 2:48 am #

    I first heard The Church through Blurred Crusade, then worked my way around the albums, buying the UK debut The Church, then the import Of Skins And Heart, then the Remote Luxury LP. I couldn’t quite connect Blurred Crusade to Remote Luxury, then I bought Séance, the lovely keyboard album. Loved the cover, loved all the songs (even Travel By Thought), and the drum sounds didn’t bother me at all. Favourite parts – Fly, Bel Air reprise in One Day, Electric, “and the colours take me down” in It’s No Reason, the bit in Electric Lash where the instruments stop in the middle and the 2 guitars kick things off again, the ooo eee ooo backing vocals in Dropping Names and the perfect downer of It Doesn’t Change. In the Church top 3 albums ever. You are right, you hardly play anything off it, but then there are dozens of songs that are similarly neglected. With the additional band member on stage now those songs need to be revived.
    Take care
    Gordon

  17. etta
    etta | 9 April 2017 at 2:56 pm #

    You want me to offer to redo the session? No? Ok! Glad we cleared that up.

  18. avatar
    kell | 10 April 2017 at 1:36 pm #

    Here’s my impressions after listening to it again recently (& I do listen to it at certain times).
    ‘It Doesn’t Change’ is sheer brilliance. Precision, perfect pauses, well-ordered, majestic quality, perfect to end the album on. Similiar to Joy Division’s ‘Atmosphere’.
    The drum machine sequences overall are excellent. Why are you so critical of your work & yourself, Kilbey? Overall it’s a philosophical, reflective & beautiful album.
    ‘Electric’ is a feeling felt favourite. Moving, every time.
    ‘It’s No Reason’ ~ has a nursery rhyme quality ~ HAS to be seen with the video for full experience of appreciation. Great video. Really tells a story.
    ‘Travel By Thought’ starts like an alien cold shock, then quickly goes jungle/tribal with drumming reminiscent of The Cure’s Hanging Garden or something.
    An experimental stream-of-consciousness, perhaps the original precursor to an entire realm that The Church’s music went into years later. Lyrically taunting, provoking, insightful, a relief when the cacophany is over, yet it really does take one on a journey, with dimensions unfolding & overlapping simultaneously.
    ‘Disappear’ ~ very grounding, touching Earth after the previous track. Emotional, nostalgic, reaching resolution. ‘Well I just have to smile for all the things you’ll never hear me say.’ ‘Ugliness you have to learn, Beauty you can’t teach.’
    ‘Electric Lash’ ~ Just rocks. Packs a punch. Love the blue of the video. Always sing along to this one. Bit pretentious perhaps, but it lifts & takes off. It soars, very neatly.
    ‘Now I Wonder Why’ ~ Sweet singing. Celtic guitars. Reflective. Love the expressive bass.
    ‘Dropping Names’ ~ I find this one a bit annoying, like a loud imposition. Precursor to ‘Tantalized’? Ego themes & brass show-off energy/guitars ~ wakes up the mood!!
    ‘It Doesn’t Change'(again) ~ Sacred. Resolution. Understanding. Profound. Grand processional finale ~ always carries a tinge of sadness for me because I know it’s the last track on the album, & I don’t want the album to end! Ends on a beautiful uplifting high. Thankyou

    Conclusion ~ Can understand SK that you might find it boring (blah blah) now (after everything you’ve journeyed through), however I think it might be an essential part of who you are. You can love it for the step on your journey that it is. Is the singing flat? I always accepted it just as it was, (& maybe your lower- register, more grounded voice had something to do with what you were going through at the time. Weren’t you maybe integrating wisdom from certain emotional heart-related experiences? The result being your grounded, wise, philosophical Self. Maybe he still lives in you now, including those wisdoms & values expressed back then.)
    Thankyou for encouraging us to comment on this album xx

  19. avatar
    Chris | 12 April 2017 at 8:54 pm #

    Seance: a classic The Church album. Novel drum style. Orchestral progressions. Complex chords and key changes. Astoundingly original and arresting overdubs. There is a metallic sharpness to the sound, but this gives the songs a crystal like clarity that allows you to hear every literate lyric. Sensuous sensual intelligent timeless songs. I now know what it is like to take LSD. Real Thing began the journey…this accelerates it.

    Fly: one of the first songs to convert me to The Church…exotic unique marrakesh-scented genius. No other song like it in the world. Takes me back to when I first heard it and it took me away from mundane vanilla OZ. These guys seemed to dwell in a parallel universe and drink some psychedelic elixir or ambrosia that took them to the caterpillar mushroom I could never manage to find in 1980’s Sydney, but I knew it was somewhere out there in Rozelle wearing suede boots and casual indifference and cool saviour faire. Promo photos of rayban wrapped cool dudes in paisley shirts distracting my then girlfriend from my obvious wit and charm…

    Electric: quintessential The Church. Why lists of best rock voices in OZ always include sk. No one does gesprachsang so distinctively. The flattness is part of the charm and style…it is part of the sound that immediately conjures The Church in our ears and brain and heart and soul. Like so many Church songs, this one will never date. A journey into a dream that makes you ask, why can’t I live in a song.

    It’s No Reason: classic Church sound described by David Fricke as ‘jangly clear light.’ Lush apposite strings. Complex guitars. Steve’s sung bass notes trembling as they hang mid lyric as they progress toward his unique sibilant concluding ‘s’.This song has that exquisite melancholic ‘longing’ tone in both lyric and voice described by Marty. Happy sad. Sweet sorrow. Neither fake joy nor depressingly morose. Gravitas. Weight. Substance. Genius really.

    Travel by Thought: brilliant. Up there with Holst, Pink Floyd, Stockhausen, Yes, Cream & Jefferson Airplane. Was never gonna cut it with the countdown set. This is pure rock genius. Like a trip in a gothic chariot through elysium on a truckload of LSD with Lucy and John and Mr.Kite.

    Disappear: I think this song could only have been written in OZ. It drips salty bright blue-green ocean and searing bright sunlight. It also demonstrates why many professional rock musicians regard The Church as being the best guitar band in the world. Total class playing and interpretation. Beautiful lush complex intoxicating multi-layered. A distinctive OZ surf rock sound that others like Richard Clapton capture. How many bands could play this accurately? Hmmm…

    Electric Lash: delicate clever fun. Always lifts my mood. Only Steve can sing ‘as if in a cameo’ and make it work so effortlessly. Also an example of how one line in a Church song can resonate with you for decades. I like the shotgun drumming. Explosive and joyous. Thank you Ms. Keyte….lucky man….

    Dropping Names: who plays guitar that fast? Perfect pop song. Catchy lyrics. Cool riffs. Never lags or dates. Great voice bass notes from sk. ‘Driving days’….cool dark ominous. Love the discordant outro.

    It Doesn’t Change: are they Peter’s monks chanting that I hear? ‘Strangers in their naked skin waiting for oblivion’……brilliant. Great harmonies and anthemic backing vocals. Lovely light tripping keyboards. Such great drumming….complex creative rich. Another ‘make me happier now’ song that delivers. Joyous and uplifting. This is an example o why I put Steve up there with Mozart and Haydn. This is musical genius. Epic rich lush layered orchestral elevating elevated….genius. (You are man! No debate or equivocating!)

    Autumn Soon: more sitars sold than guitars in the USA in the late 60’s. Thank you Maharishi and St.George. Redolent of Skins and Heart here. Enz we’re kinda doing this sound as well then. Lovely lead guitar and wah wah on my knee.

    Seance: only The Church. Sounds like no other band. Joy Division-ish…maybe. Genius? Yes.

  20. avatar
    Chris | 12 April 2017 at 9:06 pm #

    p.s.malady maker…gone. Seance…still here.

  21. avatar
    bendonne | 13 April 2017 at 10:28 pm #

    nice review, after a quick listen to Séance cd, it doesn’t change, haha, reminds me why on long flights, I listen to post 1995 Church/Steve Kilbey solo, Magician to DF, I mean come on, After Everything, no comparison, Tim Peter, Marty, Ian, a niche, keep crankin out the new stuff Stevey Rock Star

  22. avatar
    andy | 15 April 2017 at 3:39 am #

    ‘its always the album those old style church fans like’
    I think this statement is key………..
    myself?………..I see it as a slight stumble in an amazing body of work.
    still great songs despite slightly stilted performances on a couple of numbers
    and woefully misjudged mixing and production throughout.
    essential to all lovers of real music despite it’s shortcomings because the highpoints are superb.
    I mean……..’tis the church innit?

  23. etta
    etta | 16 April 2017 at 7:39 am #

    Glad you liked my messages, the two cum three part review I sent for no reason. Would like to say how great your version of Pictures of You and Spiderman were last might. The band made such beautiful music! I think the Cure would’ve approved! Well anyway we up front dancers did.

  24. etta
    etta | 16 April 2017 at 7:45 am #

    James wants to play it again in Melbourne he said. By the way what a mammoth song list. Seemed to almost span their career! The musos were so giving. Saw the Cure last year and Robert Smith was giving to the point of laryngitis. They played for at least two hours as I remember! Stunning! But I do miss the Church… 🙂

  25. kevinbreton
    kevinbreton | 17 April 2017 at 7:31 am #

    Dealing with the kind of music going on like “seance” or the synthpop/ new wave of Australia and Europe. America had it the worst by all means. The only band to do justice so to speak from America in this era was the band Cock Robin with their hit song “when your heart is weak”. Great album. I mean awesome USA new wave. Other than that it’s just like this terrible music reo speed wagon or something they still try to get you to strangle yourself with on the airwaves over here. My top favs of the early 80s style. That really I love are. Spain-Mecano. Wales-freur. And Australia the first decade of the Church and of course Norway – a-ha…. Maybe anyway. But check out cock robin when your heart is weak and mecano “hoy no me puedo levantar”!

  26. kevinbreton
    kevinbreton | 17 April 2017 at 8:10 am #

    Although. I think inxs and acdc and the. Rolling Stones are three worst bands ever. I think a 10 year with an out of tune guitar would be more great to the ears

  27. kevinbreton
    kevinbreton | 17 April 2017 at 11:01 am #

    Anyway. I’m real sorry I post too much on your blog. I really love the 12 string guitar sound. Maybe what hooked me to the church and your baritone voice and precisely pumping bass. You guys would’ve been even better without drugs. People think church and they think “like Jesus and angels n stuff?” And I’m like yea. Don’t matter ya know. Why should secular stuff like yours not be holy and why should holy things not be made known. Unity between the two. That’s a breton cry there. It’s all just life ya know. If things can die forever why couldn’t they live forever? Although I don’t understand burning forever bc something can only burn until it’s material is exhausted. I’ll leave you alone hopefully for years n years M Kilbey. The church was a fun band. Fun n pretty. I wanna move to the desert where I can remember my name cause there ain’t no one for ta give me no pain. La la la. Until judgement day Hasta luego amigo. Hey some people gotta lot ta…… KevN Breton. Bows. Walks away God bless

  28. avatar
    Ingrid | 28 April 2017 at 11:33 am #

    Hey it’s got Electric Lash and I’ve always loved that song! I like Singsongs too, but never managed to be able to get my hands on a copy xxx

  29. etta
    etta | 1 May 2017 at 5:48 am #

    Of course as you’d predict I’d say, I can hear tight, highly strung sounds in Seance but also plenty of deep, mellow, voluptuous, capacious expansive sounds too. Of course I like the combination of both. One allows for the other. Have only listened up to Travel by Thought this morn but notice the mix of sad and glad, gazing out to sea, optimism (can’t listen to One Day without thinking of aerobics now and I was wearing yoga clothes and simultaneously cleaning), yes pouty and fragile bits but often sounding like a smirk is underlining. The very opening bars of the album remind me of the proverbial metamorphosis of caterpillar to butterfly with the deep sounds fighting to escape entrapment and fly….to be continued. Wanted to send this to you not your blog for no reason. By the way I think so far that Seance is more mature than you give yourself credit for, like a rite of passage. But what would I know?

  30. etta
    etta | 1 May 2017 at 5:50 am #

    Finished listening and finding this Good sunny Friday a favourable day to listen to Seance. Finding your voice soothing and quite gentle esp in

  31. etta
    etta | 1 May 2017 at 5:52 am #

    Woops Disappear? and Wonder Why. I like the youthful cheek in Dropping names and the irony in It Doesn’t Change which is almost monotone at times but ends on a rise. So the sunniness imbued the album and the album imbued the sunniness. Stereotypically I may have said the album is on the dark side but the stereotype is proved wrong on a day like today. More pertiness than poutiness I found!

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    alberto | 1 May 2017 at 11:13 pm #

    One of my fave ever. Fly dade out into One day still gives me thrills.
    Soundtrack of my life.

  33. avatar
    veleska1970 | 3 May 2017 at 8:53 am #

    Dropping Names has always been my favourite track on Seance. I love the jaunty, punchy, uptempo rhythm of it. 🙂

  34. avatar
    paulhershberg | 5 May 2017 at 1:53 pm #

    Steve, I remember reading this when your Speed Of The Stars release came out…lol…trying to picture the drummer of U2 throwing around a copy of Seance like a frisbee…

    “As Frank says in a recent Sydney Morning Herald interview, “We are kindred spirits. He’s a workaholic, always working on some music, painting or writing project. I met Steve when both of our bands, The Church and Cactus World News were touring together on a double bill in North America during Summer of 1986. Ive been a long term fan of his work ever since Larry Mullen Jnr tossed me a vinyl copy of ‘Seance’ which he had picked up on U2’s first Australian tour. Forward to 1994 and I meet with Steve in London at a Church Gig when I was working with This Mortal Coil singer Deirdre Rutkowski. We hatched a plan to collaborate on a project.”

    PS: Electric Lash….come on man…that tune….one helluva listen still today (although you do look a lil like Paul McCartney in the video 🙂

  35. avatar
    paulhershberg | 5 May 2017 at 2:55 pm #

    Oh yeah, Steve…just to add….no album sounded like this before, and really hasn’t since.

    It consists of dark atmosphere, an almost Phil Spector dense wall of sound…yet ALSO consists of infectious melodies underneath it all. How is that even possible? …dunno. You pulled some really disparate things into one here. The majority of the underlying tunes are strong enough to come thru the production.

    Somehow Seance just “works” in a very bizarre manner, whether you intended it to or not. It’s a completely unique piece of work, whether you intended it to be or not.

    Sorry man…even your “controversial” album oddly works.

    (PS: blame the gated reverb on Peter Gabriel’s 1980 album…:-)

    (PS2: you can also get the band back together and re-record an updated version…well hell that be interesting, to say the least)

  36. avatar
    Deborah | 22 May 2017 at 5:47 pm #

    Only read this today but I gotta write something here..as Seance is one of my favourites..i’m coming from a fan listening to latest album point of view here i guess, but it still sounds as beautiful to me as the first day i ran out and bought the album. Still remember just how that sounded to me and it felt like exactly what the church were to me, does that even make sense?..it just came on and surrounded me with this beautiful sound i never did quite find anywhere else. it is bookended by two of my all time favourite church songs…fly..i cant even describe where i go every time i hear that song, still to this day, and it’s perfectly short, used to think this should be longer but realise now it shouldn’t! it chimes in n off i go then it leaves. and the bass feautures in that song too, love it! then it doesn’t change to finish off, to me, perfecto! the bass goes off in that song also for me and then there’s those drums!! i love those drums..iv’e just read what you said about the making of this album..and i guess i don’t know very much at all about that side of things, i just come from a listen to what they’ve done here perspective and to me it was great how it was made can never change how i hear it..i gotta say i was at numerous gigs on the seance tour and still remember how wonderful it sounded. felt like it snuck up from behind n just wrapped me in, those songs all sounded great live n if i remember correctly, and this old memory may not, you incorporated keyboards at those gigs which was first time i’d seen the church with keyboards live, yeah, i still say thank you for making such a beautiful album that i will always treasure and will always be on my playlist.

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    semiosmith | 1 June 2017 at 10:51 am #

    This was where I came in, at the ripe old age of 14-15 (I remember my older brother and his older friend arguing to allow me in to my first gig at end of Blurred Crusade tour, on the basis that I wouldn’t be drinking, just there to hear and see the band – I looked about 10. I also remember Thirroul, 2nd gig, June 1982, terrible audience, you didn’t bother coming out for encore; the bouncers led us out the back because, with our paisley, there was a mad mob of local thugs waiting for us out front; they found and chased us anyway, but like all bullies when confronted back off pretty quick – ah, to be a Church fan in Wollongong in those days!) Always my most vivid memory, of those shows leading up to and during the Seance tour. I wrote a twin, comparative review, of Seance and Midnight Oil’s 10…1, for my school magazine (almost noone in Warilla High School had any idea who the Church were). Suffice to say, a glowing review, which I stand by today. I loved this album, with all its production ‘flaws’; still do. The live performances were something else: that was where the real magic happened, for my money. A vastly underrated live band, a class above the Oils. Yep, true. So I have no objectivity at all, the album, the shows, the ethos, the excitement of youth, all one; and why the hell would anyone, any artist, want to be anything other than entirely subjective about these things? The mesmeric drone of sound and melody, the eloquent hum of the bass – the windup to ‘It doesn’t change’; the end of the interlude in ‘Electric Lash’ – when the VOX AC 30s were fully charged; the melancholic optimism of ‘Electric’ – a sort of Australian inversion of the Brasilian ‘suadade’; Marty’s eBow: there are better songs on Remote Luxury, but this is a better album. My impressions are almost entirely different from the composers’. But I’m a lover, not a critic: I’m sticking with mine.

  38. avatar
    DogWater | 21 June 2017 at 3:44 am #

    Seance wasn’t my first Church album. I already liked them. But it was the album that made me love them.


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