Earlier this year electro-pop outfit, CHVRCHES, burst onto the scene with their stonking beast of a single, ‘Lies’. The track valiantly announced their arrival and forced many a music critic to sit up and take notice. Since then, hype has steadily been building around the Glasgow-based trio and word has gradually been spreading.
Last night, the walls of Electrowerkz were caging in a tightly-packed crowd of intrigued spectators which undoubtedly encompassed an army of bloggers. As is often the case with London shows, the expectant audience had an air of “impress us” about them. CHVRCHES rose to the challenge and the excited mutterings coming from the room at the end of the night suggested that they had done just that.
As the eager few battled their way to the front of the stage, synths filled the room and ‘We Sink’ opened the set. Lauren Mayberry’s tiny frame somehow contains a staggering voice that can reach every corner of a room and turn every head from afar. Her vocals are reminiscent of Robyn and coated with a heavy Scottish accent that filters into the band’s overall sound.
After just two tracks the unmistakeable initial beats of ‘Lies’ bounced around the room. Whether or not the band would appreciate the likeness, the first five seconds of the track hold a surprising resemblance to Dizzee Rascal’s early hit, ‘Fix Up Look Sharp’. The lashing synths whipped and convulsed and got the whole room shuffling around to the beat.
Previously unheard ‘Lungs’ began with an Ellie Goulding-sounding vocal and was layered with distortion. The electronics were whacked up a notch on this number and the addition of a male vocal took the track to another level. During the slower-tempo ‘Night Sky’ the male vocal has something of The xx about it, with a gentler, chilled vibe coming from it. The surprise number of the night came in the form of ‘I Would Die 4 V’, the band’s cover of Prince’s 1984 hit, ‘I Would Die 4 U’. The audience was catapulted into the song from a standstill and quickly raised the roof with the sounds of an ‘80s pop fest.
Mayberry proved herself to be a charismatic and charming front woman and won the crowd over by excitedly recalling, “You’re lucky we’re here because on the way up the escalator at the tube, I saw a massive poster for ‘The Bodyguard’ - the f***ing musical!”
It’s no surprise that the standout moment came in the closing minutes of the set. The single, ‘The Mother We Share’, is an outstanding piece of electro-pop genius that will be a certain feature of many year-end lists. The sound of the intro provoked a massive cheer from the room and elevated the mood to a new high.
CHVRCHES have the potential to crossover and reach huge mainstream markets and claim international hits with their powerful singles. And if their live sets continue at this standard, 2013 could well be the year for them.
Words by Sarah Williams