The Church – Untitled #23 (Second Coming Records)

Despite almost 30 years together, The Church sound surprisingly vital on Untitled #23. Although Steve Kilbey’s Bowie-esque speak-sing vocals and Marty Wilson-Piper’s mix of jangle and psychedelic sounds is an overly familiar formula, the band always finds something new to explore on each album. They tried electronica on Sometime Anywhere, went acoustic for El Momento Descuidado and El Momento Siguiente, used Byrdsy jangle on The Blurred Crusade, and so on. On Untitled #23 the band employs lush atmospheric touches giving their songs some of the same heavenly trajectory as Slowdive or Sigur Ros. The spacey sonics and slow drifting tempos strike pay-dirt on the darkly beautiful “Happenstance,” which sounds like a 21st century Pink Floyd, and on “Space Saviour,” a close cousin to Sigur Ros’ “Glosoli.” Although fans of the band’s more rockin’ creations may bemoan the album’s slow pace and hazy vibe, it’s the perfect soundtrack for a rainy afternoon spent daydreaming.