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Picks and Pans Review: Priest = Aura

updated 03/02/1992 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/02/1992 01:00AM

The Church

The Church could have had it all. After the mainstream success of their last two albums, the Australian quartet seemed poised for platinum paradise. But Priest = Aura, the eighth Church album, contains some puzzling material that only begins to sink in after several listens.

Abandoning mid-tempo rock, the band returns to a subtler, more mystical approach. A few longtime staples, such as shimmering guitar arpeggios, remain intact. Lyrics are as enigmatic as ever: "Woman equals man and pot equals pan." Whatever.

Steve Kilbey's portentous vocals linger over an aural landscape that's tense, delicate and deliberately murky. Priest = Aura might be a bit too abstruse to lure huge flocks to the Church's pews. But keep listening, groove on the lugubrious mood, and you just might find yourself converted. (Arista)

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