“Constant in Opal” (The Church)

Similar to their other trax riffing on exploration (“Columbus,” “Destination,” and even a cover of Neil Young’s “Cortez the Killer”), here The Church turns inward toward the form(al)-bound. Perhaps centering on Australia (a prolific “producer” of opal) or Afghanistan (ultramarine/lapus lazuli), location is only part of the problem. “Swarming like carrion birds,” “puzzled travelers” and their “words” find nothing for all their digging despite the promise of finding “yourself” in the related search for luxurious goods (after the requisite narrative cuts and polishing). Following the initial rhymes in each verse, there’s a funny word association: wealth—melt; words—birds; flowers—showers; and the third verse shifts the initial rhyming term from the second to first line while seemingly moving the analogical toward a reversed causal. Geological identity as another historiographical exercise, while our lives are lived in a “shaft”—groping for ourselves and stratabound.

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