Chvrches could redefine what it means to be a pop group

Kris Ohlendorf

They were named a must-see artist at South By Southwest, performed on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon and have sold out various shows all around North America and Europe. Most bands don’t see this much recognition in their entire careers but Chvrches garnered it before even releasing an album.

The Scottish trio consists of Lauren Mayberry, Iain Cook and Martin Doherty. Mayberry a has law degree and a masters in journalism but spent the last few years jumping around various indie rock bands. Cook and Doherty were old university buddies who decided to make music together, not knowing if it would really go anywhere. Cook was producing an EP for a band Mayberry was in and asked her to record some vocals for him and Doherty. 

And thus, Chvrches was born. 

The band started appearing on music blogs in 2012 after releasing two debut singles. Mayberry’s charmingly deep lyrics, atop Chvrches irresistible pop sound, put the band in a league of its own among the growing electro-pop scene. The buzz only increased with the release of their first EP and a tour of their energetic live shows. It was obvious early on that this band was doing something that was not only new but something successful. 

Chvrches want us to think of them as a cohesive band because that's how they see themselves. They could have easily cashed in and become “Lauren Mayberry and the two bearded hipsters,” but the group has been careful to avoid that distinction.

But they still don’t exactly fit the image of a normal band. Their live show features no guitars, drum set or live instruments at all. Instead synthesizers and sample machines fill the stage. Mayberry sings solo in the middle with Cook and Doherty doing their best Kraftwerk impressions on either side of her, and it’s not uncommon for the members to switch roles mid-concert. The audience is guaranteed an exhilarating musical experience when they see Chvrches perform live — flashing lights and all. 

The shows are a great complement to their music, which is a combination of euphoric electronic music and insanely addictive melodies with lyrics that are surprisingly meaningful. It’s been a long time since such poppy music as Chvrches has held much real meaning, and it’s a testament to the band as talented and original songwriters. These are real people, and this is real music.

Their album The Bones of What You Believe is an unwritten textbook display of how a band would begin taking over the world in our modern age. They used the Internet to share their music and personally communicate with fans — Chvrches isn’t above its followers. They want to connect and talk with them because that is something they would have loved to experience from their favorite artists in a pre-Internet age. 

Chvrches’ three-piece electronic setup is something that will be easily replicated and tons of musicians will try to cash in on the success that this band will see. It sounds like a big claim, but Chrvches has the ability to reform what defines a band in general. They are university grads who have calculated their image and built a process of gaining notoriety that has so far given them more fame than they could ever imagine. Give it time, and this could be how pop music defines itself. The modern music scene is in a transitional state right now, and Chvrches has the potential to be the band that defines what comes next.