Since the first time my ears honed in on Lauren Mayberry of CHVRCHES, I’ve been hooked, becoming one of my favorite bands of the last five years. The Glasgow-based trio returned to New York to play Radio City with a setlist of (most of) their best songs from all three albums: Love Is Dead, released last year, The Bones of What You Believe from 2013 and Every Eye Open in 2015.
As I reflect on these albums, I’m struck by how much they’ve grown, how different they are, and yet how consistently they stay to the CHVRCHES formula — ’80s inspired synth pop that echoes New Order (highly produced electronic synth sounds), and the Go-Go’s (uptempo dark songs with massive hooks that make you want to dance).
The Bones of What You Believe (2013)
Who has recovered from this album? Not me. The record holds up and still features several of CHVRCHES most beloved songs: ‘Recover,’ ‘We Sink’ and ‘The Mother We Share.’ I was reminded of the awesome, apocalyptic power and intensity of ‘Science/Visions’ where organized religion succumbs to science. ‘Tether’ is still my favorite song to date with its chill-inducing synth crescendo. Personally, I’ve moved past ‘feeling incapable’ from six years ago, but I still love the song. I’m thankful they stuck this song back into the set list.
Every Eye Open (2015)
While this seems like the forgotten middle child album, it features a number of breakout songs including ‘Never Ending Circles’ and ‘Empty Threat.’ Neither of these were included the set list, but ‘Bury It’ and ‘Leave a Trace’ were. My second favorite song by CHVRCHES may be ‘Clearest Blue.’ Like ‘Tether’ it has a fantastic synth crescendo.
Love is Dead (2018)
Highly produced, Love is Dead ascends CHVRCHES to a higher plane. Almost every song is a divine electro-synth chorus with incredible hooks, and I still can’t get enough of it. Coupled the hooks with a lot of smoke and A list lighting tech, it only adds to the celestial experience. ‘Get Out,’ ‘Graffiti,’ ‘Forever,’ ‘Miracle’ and my third favorite song is ‘Graves’ all fit the bill. This show would have been perfect if one one more song could be added: ‘Heaven/Hell,’ so I’ve included it in my picks for you. Amen.