After putting out a pair of EPs in 1984 that would be combined into the LP Remote Luxuryin the States, the Church released its fourth full-length album, which would be its last for its then-patron EMI. Produced by Englishman Peter Walsh, chosen by the band for his recent work with Simple Minds and Scott Walker, Heyday gives the quartet a brighter, more lush sound than ever before, with strings and horns enhancing a few tracks. The band responds to the shiny presentation with a strong set of tunes that show a tight creative unity, as this is the first LP on which the songs were composed as a band.
Heyday is more dominated by up-tempo pop tunes than anything the Church has done outside of its first album. “Night of Light” and the glorious single “Tantalized” make excellent use of horn bursts and string arrangements, two things one would think the Church would never need. “Myrrh” and “Columbus” keep the caffeinated jangle pop vibe going, both tunes a swirl of ringing 6- and 12-string guitars and Steve Kilbey‘s laconic mystery. “Disenchanted” and “Tristesse” bring the energy level down for a more midtempo introspection, without stinting on hooks or drive. The single “Already Yesterday” puts strong hooks into a moody arrangement that likely killed its chances on the charts. “Youth Worshipper” rides a descending melody armed with keyboards, strings, saxophone and a lyric decrying plastic surgery, while “Roman” burns down its arrangement in an album-ending flurry of interlocking six-strings. In the midst of all the crash and clang of guitar rock, “Happy Hunting Ground” stands out, a gentle, misty instrumental that’s like a pause for breath.
This reissue is particularly generous with its B-sides, all of which are worthy additions to the catalog. “As You Will” and “The View,” written and sung by guitarists Peter Koppes andMarty Willson-Piper respectively, are both guitar pop gems, tight and tuneful. “Trance Ending” lives up to its name, a drifting wash of psychedelic mystery that’s a better ending to the record than “Roman,” its original stopping point. Practically overflowing with memorable hooks and ear-caressing textures, Heyday is one of the Church’s most well-crafted and accessible albums.