Australian post-punk iconoclasts THE CHURCH are to celebrate their 40th Anniversary with a major European Tour.

The band formed in Sydney in 1980 and have gone on to become one of Australia's most enduring and intriguing musical exports, releasing seventeen studio albums, including the 1988 international breakthrough album Starfish and its accompanying hit single 'Under The Milky Way', which made the US Top 30.

The tour, wittily titled In The Wake Of The Zeitgeist, will find the band visiting cities and countries they rarely visit, and will culminate in a sole UK show, at the O2 Forum in London's Kentish Town, scene of some of their career-peak shows when it was the Town & Country Club in the late 90s, and indicative of the recent revival in the band's popularity. In the past few years, the band have played special guest slots with Fields Of The Nephilim and Psychedelic Furs, with whom they toured extensively in the US and played a high profiles as part of Robert Smith's Meltdown in London.

The anniversary will be a bittersweet one for the band, however, finding bassist/frontman Steve Kilbey as the sole original member, following the departure of co-founding guitarist Peter Koppes last year. Announcing Koppes' departure on Facebook on 1 February, Kilbey said, "A band is like a family and over 40 years it is only natural that families will change and that members will come and go. Therefore it is with great sadness that we must announce the departure of Peter Koppes from our ranks to explore his own musical path. Peter has made the hugest contribution to the Church's sound and he will be sorely missed."

Koppes had previously left the band from 1992 to '97. He's currently working with SYNCRETISM, a new project with Dave Scotland, previously a member of Koppes and Kilbey's pre-Church band Baby Grande.

Koppes' fellow guitarist Marty Willson-Piper left The Church in 2013, and was replaced by Ian Haug from the band Powderfinger. The latest line-up features Koppes' replacement Ashley Naylor and drummer Tim Powles, while touring musician Jeffrey Cain is promoted to full-time membership. The quintet are currently in the process of recording a new album, which may or may not be out in time for the tour.

Full tour dates are...

17 May – Kafe Antzokia, Bilbao
18 May – RCA Club, Lisboa
19 May – Hard Club, Porto
21 May – Plaza de la Catedral, Santiago de Compostela
22 May – Sala Mon Madrid Conciertos, Madrid
23 May – Sala Moon, Valencia
24 May – Sala Bikini, Barcelona
25 May – Petit Bain, Paris
26 May – Wizeman, Stuttgart
27 May – Das Bett, Frankfurt
28 May – Club Volta, Köln
29 May – Wave Gotik Treffen, Westerland
30 May – BAM Festival, Hengelo
2 June – Loppen, Copenhagen
3 June – Kulturbogalet, Malmö
4 June – Fåfängani, Stockholm
5 June – Salt Art & Music, Oslo
10 June – Monkeys Music Club, Hamburg
12 June – Paard, Den Haag
13 June – O2 Forum, London

Tickets for the Forum show are on sale here from Friday 7 February.

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