There’s something quite pious, or rather, divine, about Chvrches–and it’s not just because of their name. Lead singer and feisty frontwoman Lauren Mayberry may have the vocal chords of an angel, but what really pushes the Scottish trip into a realm of almost ethereal majesty is the overwhelming synth melodies that fuel their songs.
Live, the Scottish trio are a trifecta of tempestuous energy; their shuddering synth movements sound more like an orchestral symphony of shimmering keyboards and percussion than a simple pop hook. Iain Cook and Martin Doherty craft the atmosphere, but it’s Mayberry who manages to put into words the icy poignancy of Chvrches honest songwriting. With a voice well-beyond her years, one that rings like silver and cuts like a razor, the 28-year-old singer seamlessly stretched her euphonious voice to the heavens, filling the entirety of the Shrine Auditorium with the soft echoes of her powerful croons.
From the dizzying, opening moments of “Never Ending Circles,” all the way to the final roar of the chorus in “The Mother We Share,” Chvrches set a fire under the feet and in the hearts of every fan packed within the ornate halls of the Shrine. In a way, it seemed like a hallowed moment; with Mayberry center stage bellowing out hymns of hopefulness and self-worth, the deep and oscillating bursts of synth rumbling like organs, and a crowd of hundreds murmuring the words back to her.
Standing in the crowd that night, under the huge embroidered ceilings of the Shrine, it was hard not to feel something move inside you–whether it was the goosebumps on your arms or a sense of wonder in your soul–Chvrches pulled off something special that night.
Their epic soundscapes crash over you like tidal waves of virulent synths and percussion, while Mayberry puts into gentle words the pains of your insecurities–before blasting them to smithereens with her immaculate voice. Chvrches may not have a religious connotation, but the group itself remains an unparalleled hurricane of sublime and otherworldly electronica.
Words: Steven Ward
Photography: Oliver Walker for Goldenvoice
CHVRCHES 2015 North American Tour Dates
10/21 Salt Lake City, UT – The Complex
10/22 Denver, CO – Fillmore Auditorium
10/23 Kansas City, MO – Uptown Theater
10/24 Chicago, IL – Metro
10/26 Tulsa, OK – Cain’s Ballroom
10/27 Nashville, TN – Marathon Music Works
10/28 Charlotte, NC – The Fillmore
10/30 Lake Buena Vista, FL – House of Blues
10/31 St. Petersburg, FL – Jannus Landing
11/05 Dallas, TX – The Bomb Factory
11/06 Austin, TX – Fun Fun Fun Fest