[31 May 2007]
Given the prolific nature of The Church in this decade, it comes as something of a surprise that one of its members would have time to release music as part of another band, but that’s just what Marty Willson-Piper has done as the vocal, songwriting half of Noctorum. Along with multi-instrumentalist and producer Dare Mason, Willson-Piper has written a rather beautiful ‘70s rock album, along the lines of Pink Floyd, but not too far from the band for which he is most famous. Offer the Light is actually the second album from the duo, and it sounds a lot less like an indulgent side-project than first effort Sparks Lane, evidenced by its fairly consistent sound and style, not to mention its lack of French-language tangents. It starts mellow and gets mellower, lulling us with soft-rock radio hits like the lovely, guitar solo-adorned “Alain Delon” and the rather beautiful “The Guessing Game”, culminating with the seven-minute by-a-dying-fire strumalong that is “The Muse”. The burst of hard rock toward the end sounds a bit out of place given all the raised lighters and acoustic guitars that preceded it, and the gloomy, sinister “Already Dead” (which sounds oddly like Monster Magnet for some reason) is particularly striking for its black sheep qualities; these aren’t bad songs, they just don’t make sense on this particular album. Still, for those fans who haven’t been able to get enough of The Church through the band’s hectic recent release schedule, this second helping of Noctorum will absolutely hit the spot. It’s a well-produced, well-performed set from an obvious veteran of the industry. In other words, Offer the Light is everything it should be.