Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Shawn Biggs at Studio Paradiso, San Francisco, California
It seems like times have been occasionally vicious for the people moving through CHVRCHES songs. They've watched cities burn. They've watched houses burn and people crumble. They've seen the nasty residue of love become a tattoo. They've seen that marking fade. They've looked at the fighting - surveyed the fallen, all the carnage - and seen it half of the time as ghastly and the other half as the price you pay, some kind of luxury tax. Those that have gone down, at the hand of love, are sure not to stay down, but they'll have some permanent scars. Those are always great to compare and contrast. It gets interesting when those are whipped out at parties, where the misery becomes a form of favor, the spark of a conversation, or the clincher.
The Scottish band, fronted by Lauren Mayberry, coats the sting of hurt with a belief that everyone can make a full recovery. It could just be that the worst day of their life is going to be followed by the first day of the rest of their life. Mayberry makes these stories feel as if they represent the turning of the corner, slowly getting to the bend in the road that's going to lead people in a direction that they haven't traveled toward in a very long time. These people have been feeling faint and off for a long time. They've heard the explosions and they've been knee-deep in the misery, but they thought it was all going to feel much worse. It doesn't feel great, mind you, but they were expecting it to be harsher.
Mayberry, Iain Cook and Martin Doherty deliver these pieces - about torn up people, skinned and bruised - in a way that makes you feel as if they would retort, "You should see the other guy," laughing off most of their worst areas - the parts that look as if they're totaled. Mayberry sings, "I'll give you one more chance/Say we can change our old ways/And you take what you need and we know you don't need me." It's not as sad as you'd think. It's something of a comfort, really. It's the makings of a bounce-back, even before the fallout takes place. Things are bound to get better, or so we're being led to believe.