Church of the cosmic skull. Star and Shadow. 15.2.20

At the turn of the century The Darkness proved an interesting case study when examining just how much pop culture, and rock in particular, can take irony.  Lauded by some for their humour, cast out by others for daring to poke fun, The Darkness proved polarising in terms of just how much we allow artists to subvert the traditional boundaries of a genre.  Potentially taking this experiment further, the Church’s performance tonight looks to push the outer boundaries of rock to breaking point extremes; relying on a style which takes on some of the heavier moments of rock (think Sabbath) whilst also exploring the more bubblegum moments of pop (think Abba).  An interesting style the show proves how polarising the Chruch’s sound can be; working brilliantly in some places (‘Skull’) where the guitar riffs blend perfectly with multiple part vocals, and falling down in others (‘Magic’) where you’re not sure how seriously to take the performance, if indeed you should.  Across the show there’s certainly a realisation that both the song-writing and musicianship are always strong though you do wonder if the staging of the songs are slightly out of place; perhaps they’d work better in the theatre, say on a second Rocky Horror picture show soundtrack.  Like with The Darkness however, the joke may be all on me

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