Meet CHVRCHES, and watch the Scottish three-piece perform "Recover" and more live.
Damn, with the retro-soul stylings of John Newman and anthem-rock sound of Bastille, the U.K. is really bringing it in MTV's Artist To Watch class of 2014. But don't drop your extraneous U's yet, because we're about to dive into CHVRCHES, a trio of musicians who prove that Britain's also got the synth-pop game on lock. Colour us unsurprised.
Based out of Glasgow, bandmembers Martin Doherty, Lauren Mayberry, and Iain Cook have been one of our favorite artists to watch (pun sort of intended) over the past year. Kicking off 2013 at No. 5 on BBC's Sound Of 2013, CHVRCHES began cultivating buzz on both sides of the Atlantic, all the while recording their debut album, The Bones Of What You Believe.
Released stateside on Sep. 23 of last year, the LP was recorded in the "dodgy" part of Glasgow -- at least that's what CHVRCHES told us the night before MTV Hive's "Artist To Watch Live" event last fall. They must've settled in nicely, though, because "The Mother We Share" alone was recorded and re-recorded and remixed over and over again for months. "It seemed too simple at first," Lauren shared with us. "An early version of the song sounded like Alphabeat on crack."
For a change of scenery (JK, they were just on the road), the three laid down the final Bones Of What You Believe recording session in a grungy motel room in El Paso. To get the sound right on "By The Throat," they had to shut off the A/C. You know how, um, HOT West Texas is? Now, that's dedication.
That endurance test of a recording process totally paid off. The resulting 12-song tracklist is a phenomenally good listen from start to finish, transporting the listener to an ethereal, darkly lit concert venue not quite of this world.
Perhaps most intriguing, though, is how unlimited CHVRCHES' sound is in scope. It's reductive (#LookItUp) to label the band as just a Scottish synth-pop trio and call it a day. Then you'd miss the sonic references to Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance With Somebody" on "Lies" and production specifics on "Recover" that call to mind The Game circa The Documentary.
"The album's really a melting pot of everything we're into," Martin shared with us last fall. (After he professed his love of Drake and Kendrick Lamar.) Apparently, there's also room in that pot for the post-punk, goth-rock sound of Bauhaus. CHVRCHES' cover of "Bela Lugosi's Dead" made it onto Vampire Academy: Music From The Motion Picture, and with their brooding, introspective catalog, it's only a matter of time before they rack up a few more soundtrack placements.
But if you do need another reason besides "I knew them before they were HUGE" cred, check out Lauren's awesome, feminist op-ed for The Guardian last September in which she slams online misogyny and other forms of sexism that female musicians encounter on the internet. Need another? Uhhh, how about the fact that someone baked a chicken and leek pie in the style of CHVRCHES' album cover?
Wait, hold up. How about we let the music do the talking. Martin, Lauren, and Iain? Take 'em to CHVRCHES.
+ Check out CHVRCHES' "The Mother We Share" video, watch CHVRCHES perform "The Mother We Share" live, and download a free mp3 of CHVRCHES' "Recover." Find more videos, live performances, and interviews at chvrches.mtv.com.
Photo credit: Glassnote