Chvrches started out humble enough. A few singles hitting the Internet, some online buzz and a debut album recorded in a basement.
Less than four years later, however, and the band is massive - headlining summer festival stops the past two years across the country, while playing more than 350 shows.
Their sound is drenched in '80s-era synths and snares. Iain Cook, one-third of the trio, mentions "early Madonna," Depeche Mode and Prince as notable influences. But there's also something uniquely millennial about their sound.
Larry Fitzmaurice, now a music writer with Vice, reviewed the band's first album for Pitchfork, giving it an 8.5 out of 10. He wrote that the band is "what a generation raised on electronic music is looking for in a rock band."
"This is everything I've ever wanted in the music business, ya know?"Martin Doherty
"There's a real yearning to feel something," Fitzmaurice said. "Just to reach out and get an electric shock, no matter where it's coming from. I think Chvrches is one of a few bands that are really providing that in a really emotionally satisfying way."
Lauren Mayberry, the band's lead singer, says that the emotional vulnerability inherent in her lyrics is present just as much on the band's second effort, but with more counterbalance.
"As much as it has some of the darkest stuff we've written," Mayberry said. "I also think it has some of the most forward-facing stuff. And I like that - that it can kind of draw a line under where we are and look forward."
Chvrches' rapid rise has meant changes in the lives of all three members. From tiny venues and opening slots, to sold out shows and the pressure of building on a debut album that made many best-of album lists for 2013.
Still, despite that pressure, the band's third member, Martin Doherty, said he doesn't miss a time when he would write and perform without the world watching. He said the artists that do miss that time were probably small acts for only a short period before blowing up.
"I invite those guys to live in the back of a van over seven American tours, feel like every day you're pushing a rock up a hill and when you get to the show you've driven 8 hours to get to, there's 17 people there," Doherty says. "I don't feel particularly nostalgic for those days.”
He and Cook laugh.
"No... No, this is everything I've ever wanted in the music business, ya know?"
Songs In This Segment
All songs by Chvrches
- "Clearest Blue"
- "Night Sky"
- "Leave a Trace"
- "Down Side of Me"
This segment aired on October 5, 2015.
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