I can see it like it happened yesterday. I, a small, slightly chubby, somewhat geeky American 15-year-old, have only one tangible connection to British culture: BBC America. One of the shows in that channel’s rotation is Later… with Jools Holland. I see a lot of great artists that I had never heard of before: Pete Molinari, Slaves, Haim, Goldfrapp, Jake Bugg. But one band made a lasting impression on me that no one else could touch.
Looking at Chvrches for the first time, there wasn’t much to be impressed by. Two pasty looking Scotsmen lined up at an elaborate keyboard/sampler rigs, and a diminutive singer between them. I was a rock guy: a band without live drums or guitars didn’t interest me in the slightest. But then, as the opening wash of synths and sampled vocals from ‘The Mother We Share’ came wafting through the speakers, I felt myself transported to an entirely different musical plane. I never fell in love with a band immediately the way I suddenly fell in love with Chvrches.
So I followed them. I immediately bought The Bones of What You Believe, the band’s debut. It remains a high watermark: twelve perfectly crafted, sublimely sequenced tracks that could stand toe to toe with any artist’s first release. Electronica can often be stiff and mechanical, but Lauren Mayberry and the boys somehow made all of that synthesized music sound affecting and alive.
From there, two more great albums, 2015’s Every Open Eye that more directly embraced an ’80s dance sound, and 2018’s Love Is Dead, which was a more explicitly emotional and pop-driven sound. With every new step came an increase in production value and an embrace of the newest modern technology, but the band never sacrificed those fallible faults that truly made them human after all.
The group have been sharing a number of cryptic social media posts over the past few days, which seem to indicate that new music, possibly the band’s fourth studio album, is on the horizon. The posts include messages like “I feel like I’m losing my mind”, so maybe this will be a darker, more insular record. I’m not sure, but I do know one thing: the kid who first watched the Chvrches is still inside there somewhere, eagerly awaiting any and all music from this group of Scottish robots with human hearts. I will never not be excited about a new Chvrches release.