Few bands whose stars ascended in the '80s are making their best work now, but the Church is on a definite roll. Via Thirsty Ear in the U.S.

Few bands whose stars ascended in the '80s are making their best work now, but the Church is on a definite roll. Via Thirsty Ear in the U.S. and Cooking Vinyl in other territories, the Church brought out in 1999 a wonderfully inventive covers collection, Box of Birds, on which the Australian quartet showcased the disparate influences—from George Harrison and Neil Young to Television and Iggy Pop—that informed its poetic, neo-psychedelic sound. (The same year also saw Under the Milky Way, a Buddha/BMG anthology titled after the band's signature song from 1988's Starfish.) Now comes an album of new material that sounds utterly contemporary even as it harks to the band's glory days. Intensely iridescent in sound and subtly abstract in emotion, After Everything Now This brims with intelligent tension and textural depth—all borne along by beautiful, beatific melody. "After Everything" soars, and "Chromium" glows; but the key track is "Radiance," a tale of a Virgin visitation that's infinitely touching in its combination of lyrical detail and silver-hued shimmer.—BB

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