The first time I heard of the Glasgow-based trio CHVRCHES, quite a few things stuck out to me. The music, coming to us courtesy of a groundbreaking, remarkable debut album called The Bones of What We Believe, had so many things working to its advantage. The trio—which features Lauren Mayberry on vocals and the occasional synth, as well as Iain Cook and Martin Doherty focusing on drums, keys, bass, and a multitude of other instruments—is able to create a lush soundscape that is both empowering and entrancing.
When you listen to Bones, the sounds envelop you with openness and emotion in a way that much of the now-fading EDM bubble can’t. This is, in large part, due to the technique of the instrumentation, but even more of it is thanks to Mayberry. Her voice is silky smooth but not weak. Her potency lies in her delivery and the sense that her words are her only truth. From their debut album that spawned the massive hit “The Mother We Share,” other well-executed tracks like “We Sink,” and the hypnotic darkness of “Science/Visions,” CHVRCHES quickly acquired an acclaim that was well deserved.
That debut helped them to take a huge leap toward building a fan base, which ultimately helped even more when it came time to release and gain support for their second and third albums, Every Eye Open and Love is Dead, respectively. Every Eye was a more personal and polished record than its predecessor, but it also felt slightly forced. I still love the album, but capturing the energy and authenticity of a first record is always hard. However, this album does have some of the overall best songs the band has produced so far. “Clearest Blue” is a winding journey that builds up slowly and explodes in the second half in an array of vibrant beats and powerfully anthemic vocals. Among their finest songs, it shines extremely bright and is an awe-inspiring track, both when presented on record and live.
This Thursday night, the trio will bring its thoughtful and provoking synth indie rock to New Orleans’s Joy Theater, with openers Lo Moon in tow. The theater is a surprising choice for CHVRCHES, the capacity being not quite big enough for the popularity of the band. But that could work in their favor. A massive crowd dancing joyously together in a room can be a liberating experience for band and audience alike. I have only seen CHVRCHES one time before, during the daylight hours of the Bonnaroo Festival, so this show will be very different in terms of spirit and production. If you’re a fan of them, or even just a fan of darkly tinged electronic music with a strong female presence up front, don’t miss this show. The newest album is more immediate, intense, and focused than you might expect, and the show will bring in high-energy music with a mesmerizing stage show that will illuminate the surroundings of the Joy Theater. See you there on Thursday!