The Blurred Crusade is the second album by the Australian alternative rock band The Church, released in March 1982 by EMI Parlophone. Moving away from the new wave leanings of their debut, it was stylistically more complex and “a smoother, fuller release”. “With its mystical lyrics the second album … brought the group’s own style more into focus”. The album peaked at No. 10 on the Australian Kent Music Report Albums Chart and “Almost With You” reached No. 21 on the related Singles Chart.
While still dominated primarily by Steve Kilbey‘s songwriting, The Blurred Crusade shows a stronger influence from 1960s psychedelia and the beginnings of guitarists Peter Koppes‘ and Marty Willson-Piper‘s trademark interplay. Lush keyboards, which often imitate strings or vocals, provide an ethereal background, aided by Bob Clearmountain‘s rich, atmospheric production. The album’s opening track and first single, “Almost with You,” is considered one of the band’s most characteristic songs and the two whole-band compositions, “An Interlude” and “You Took”, have been frequently included in set lists throughout their career. Both the band and a large section of the fan-base cite the album as one of their finest.
Following its release, the band undertook their second Australian tour, while Carrere Records released the album in Europe, generating enough sales for them to tour there in October. However, their U.S. label, Capitol Records, declined to release The Blurred Crusade and demanded that they write more radio-friendly material, as exemplified by their stable mates, Little River Band. This horrified the group. After another recording session, five new songs were offered to Capitol, but the label was still unimpressed and dropped the band. The five songs were later released in Australia as the EP Sing-Songs, which reached the Top 100 Albums Chart in December. Meanwhile, their manager, Michael Chugg, arranged a UK tour supporting the hugely successful pop group Duran Duran, but after five gigs The Church pulled out, feeling that the audiences were unsympathetic. Chugg later recalled, “They were hard work. All four of them were strong-willed and had their own ideas of how things should be”.