Chvrches

Chvrches may be making their official debut with today’s release of their first EP, Recover, but the Scottish trio isn’t exactly new to the game.

Last year, the electro-pop group broke ground with their singles “Lies” and “The Mother We Share”. Praised by NME, Huffington Post, the Guardian, and others, Chvrches (note the use of the Roman V to distinguish the band from the place of worship) gained a significant level of buzz and even accompanied Passion Pit on a tour before releasing so much as an EP, let alone a full studio album. Riding the wave of success from those 2012 singles, Chvrches bursts back into the spotlight today with the release of their five-track EP, which features three new songs and two remixes.

Chvrches music is pure synth bliss, blending old- and new-school electro techniques to create some ’80s/futuristic hybrid. With distorted beats and Prince-like sensibilities, the group plays with what pop music of today can do — reminisce and synthesize (no pun intended).

Lauren Mayberry’s voice is one of the most striking aspects of Chvrches. Compared to the jiggle-wiggles of the group’s music, Mayberry’s vocals shine crystal clear. With a sharp yet ethereal tone and melodic strength, her singing style is reminiscent of Ellie Goulding’s, but the messier, warped beats behind her make it sound like she is standing in as lead singer for Purity Ring.

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The big single off this EP is the title track, an addicting pop powerhouse jam. On “Recover,” Chvrches utilizes synth elements that are both retro and nuanced, while the clean, jubilant vocals shine through the bubbily beats, making the song stick.

But beyond its obvious appeal, the most compelling element of the track is the constant juxtaposition of the lyrics, music, and theme.

Although the music and vocal tone allude to something fantastical, the lyrics themselves are extremely grounded. The chorus states, “If I recover / will you be my comfort? / or it can be over / we can just leave it here.” The song is rational. Reasonable.

“And I know you don’t need me,” Mayberry sings with an adorable flourish. However, this statement is not made out of bitterness. It is not her being unreasonable or emotional. The song’s “I’ll give you one more chance to stay / we can change or part ways,” is not an aggressive ultimatum or a cry from an emotional love. Instead, the lines are delivered almost flippantly.

The song is unabashedly devoid of vulnerability, with lyrics that claim, “I’ve got the answer.” While an uncertainty about the future of the relationship exists, there is no life-or-death internal conflict. There is no great tragedy or emotional trauma.

If anything, Chvrches is so over this bullshit. They just want to know what’s up.

And that is a pretty unique thing to hear in a pop song about love.

This contradiction goes beyond just the traditional lyrical composition for a song about relationships — it also goes against the formula for the music itself. The lighthearted beats and bouncy rhythms — usually reserved for passionate affairs, puppy love, or crushes — support a song that is about a mature relationship. The flouncy music and the clear-cut lyrics are so brilliantly disparate that there is no way to really wipe away that wiry grin from your face when really paying attention to “Recover.”