This is a super cool mega mix of the early versions of Mother We Share culminating in the final release.
I feel like at some point I should get around to covering the rest of the CHVRCHES album lineup aside from Screen Violence. In proper fashion, I’m going to roll it back to their first album, The Bones of What You Believe. It’s appropriate because it’s the 10th anniversary of the album. I actually can’t say accurately when I first listened to CHVRCHES, though I can say I only recently started caring about them. I know that when I started to care, I realized that I already had at least one album I had bought on Amazon. So at some point, they showed up in a $5 album sale, and I decided I liked the sound and impulse bought it.
It’s probably worth mentioning that the album also recently celebrated its ten-year anniversary.
I also know that for a while I was aware somewhere of a band called “Churches” because for some reason I thought maybe they did that song Take Me to Church, which is actually by Hozier. This is based entirely on the whole Church/CHVRCH thing.
Whatever the case, while I probably heard their more popular tracks starting from this album, I didn’t really start listening until much later, though before the Screen Violence era. Anyway, after I started listening, shortly before Screen Violence, probably at the recommendation of folks in the Sigrid Discord, they quickly shot up to the top tier of my favorite artists. They are currently 2nd on my Last.fm scrobbles. I imagine that another influence was my obsession with Forza Horizon 4, which features Never Say Die, from Love is Dead.
I would say it’s hard to pick a favorite song from the album, except the track Gun is on this one, and it’s my favorite CHVRCHES track, so that’s pretty easy to pick. I just really love the metaphor of the hook. You fucked up, and you’re going to pay for it.
Maybe my second favorite track on this album is Tether, though it wasn’t always. It’s sort of grown into that place. I just absolutely love the build from calm and slow to the break at the peak. I also really enjoy the vocal effects and overlapping sounds of this one.
There are plenty of fan favorites and other notable tracks though. Their first big single, Mother We Share is such a good opener to the album with the echoing vocals. I particularly like the up-and-down background rhythms and the slappy fake clap beat that runs throughout. I want to say Lies, was the first track they actually performed during live sets, and while it’s popular, it’s probably one of my least favorite tracks on the album, because it’s very repetitive and flat in it’s overall presentation.
A few more of the more popular tracks are Night Sky, which I believe took 2nd place for most popular in the CHVRCHES Discord tournament (behind Clearest Blue). Science/Visions goes incredibly hard, and is pretty amazing live as well. Recover was the second single from Bones and has some following but it reminds me a lot of lies in that it’s a bit repetitive and it’s lower on my list of songs I enjoy. Another really good one is We Sink, which drives pretty hard and really shows off the CHVRCHES sound well.
Also notable is how many Martin lead songs are on this album. What I understand reading the history of the band, is that Martin was going to be the lead vocals before Lauren came along. There are two tracks from Martin on the base version of this album, Under the Tide and You Caught the Light. The Deluxe version adds the previously released track Zvvl, and the 10th-anniversary release adds in the previously unreleased Manhattan and Talking in My Sleep. That’s quite a few Martin tracks from the early era of CHVRCHES. It certainly would have been a different band without Lauren.
Another that I’ve started enjoying a lot more lately, though it seems contradictory since I dislike the repetition of Lies and Recover is Tightrope, though it’s only on certain bonus versions, and is a cover of Janelle Monáe. I just rather like the “T-t-tightrope” stutter lyrics and the varying vocals in the “high or low” bits.
All in all, like most of CHVRCHES music, it’s pretty much all good. I’ve been listening to this album for a while, and I’m looking forward to the upcoming 10th-anniversary re-release and all it entails.
Back in 2019 after going to see Sigrid live, I decided I really wanted to go to more concerts. I even started planning to maybe try to go to Lollapalooza at some point. Then well, the world fell apart, and there were no concerts really for a while. Things are still kind of falling apart but they are better for people making an effort to make them better (though that’s a subject for another post). I did manage to make it to another concert. I even have one, maybe more lined up for 2022 already. This time it was CHVRCHES. It’s just pronounced “Sheevurches” so don’t over think it. No wait, it’s just “Churches”.
Funny enough, Last.fm suggests I started really listening to CHVRCHES a bit after going to see Sigrid, though I also started really trying harder with tracking music on Last.fm around that time as well. I am pretty really sure I have listened to at least some of their music before 2019. I’ve been listening to them pretty heavily for the past few years, spoilers for my end of year music wrap up, but they were my number one most listened to artist this year. Though they are still number 4 over all.
This show was once again in St. Louis, this time at The Pageant, a nice music hall a little north of Forrest Park off of Delmar Blvd. The supporting act was Donna Missal, whom I had not heard before. Before the show I had a pretty tasty chicken sandwich down the block at Chicken Out. I forsake my “Ramen Junkie” moniker this round a bit because the chicken seemed faster and I just wasn’t in the mood for noodles, despite that there is a Ramen Noodle restaurant just next door to the Pageant. Maybe next time.
I got tot he venue around an hour and a half early, I really wanted to get down up front like I had with Sigrid, though the light show of CHVRCHES is probably pretty good even from a distance. I managed to end up on the bar next to the stage again, down on the right side.
The show itself was really great. I enjoyed Donna Missal quite a bit and was kind of disappointed that I could not find her merch stand, despite her mentioning it, I had kind of wanted to pick up a CD if they had any. I did go ahead and get a digital copy of her newer album later. She had some pretty amusing moments with her guitarist, who, in her words, is her “crush” though “sadly, she is married… to a man…” Her setlist was 10 songs line, 9 original and one cover.
- How Does It Feel
- Sex is Good
- (To Me) Your Face is Love
- Fake Plastic Trees (Radiohead Cover)
- Best Friend
- Let You Let Me
After a brief break was the main event with CHVRCHES. What a great show. Tons of amazing lighting effects, a solid performance, despite Lauren apparently having a cold. Not quite as much back and forth banter between the three as I would have liked and have seen in some of the other concert videos, but still a bit of fun bits in between tracks. I almost wonder if some of those break moments where they would chat were sacrificed for Lauren’s many costume changes. She came out in one outfit, and shed the jacket she was wearing after the first track, changed later into a second outfit, then later into a third, which was modified for the encore songs. So essentially 5 different “outfits”, though she doesn’t leave the stage to shed her jacket.
The show was also really good from an acoustics perspective. The audio engineers definitely deserve some credit for good mixing and balancing on things. It wasn’t overpoweringly loud like the Sigrid show had been. Though I did have a set of concert ear plugs this time, something I’d recommend honestly. Proper concert ear plugs are designed to slightly dampen the sound without making if muffled or too quiet. I really did not notice anything missing.
Anyway, CHVRCHES setlist was 17 tracks long, with the majority of the tracks being off of Screen Violence, which isn’t surprising. I also managed to get much better photos and video than when I saw Sigrid.
- He Said She Said
- Leave a Trace
- How Not to Drown
- Violent Delights
- Good Girls
- Bury It
- Night Sky
- Final Girl
- Never Say Die
- Asking For a Friend (Encore)
- The Mother We Share (Encore)
- Clearest Blue (Encore)
I particularly enjoyed Violent Delights, which is relentlessly aggressive live, the chaotic build of Science/Visions, Night Sky which is always great, and the massive build up of Never Say Die. Then of course Clearest Blue was a perfect closer track. However all of the tracks were excellent.
The encore itself was particularly special. In keeping with the “Horror” surface level theme of Screen Violence, Lauren comes back on stage covered in fake blood for the final three songs, still wearing her “Final Girl” T-shirt from the last costume change.