March 28, 2013

Album Review: CHVRCHES' Recover EP

Come to terms with the fact that tastemakers will never stop inventing genres, nor will they ever cease to regret how silly some of them sound a few years later. Just three years removed from the hype surrounding “witch house” acts like SALEM and oOoOO, the most cynical critics have already begun deriding the label as one of recent memory’s worst conceived labels that has since reached its 15-minutes of blog hype expiration date. Put an ear to Internet hip-hop’s continued indulgence in clicky trap beats or the ultraviolet hues painted throughout pop’s underworld, however, and it’s telling that this same overcast of dark, synth-swirling, genre-defining textures still breathe life into today’s rising talents.

BUZZSound CHVRCHES are the latest to be hard-pressed with the task of standing out in an increasingly saturated scene of second (third?) wave haunted house builders such as Purity Ring and Charli XCX, just as the looming return of trend-setting originals the Knife threatens to overshadow all of them. As their first crack at asserting their position, the Glaswegian trio profess their faith for polished pop duality with their debut EP Recover in hopes that memorable hooks will be enough to carry their name into the afterlife of post-blogosphere hype machine relevance.

“Recover,” the EP's acclaimed first single and title track responsible for much of these heightened expectations from the critical mass, is safely placed in the opening slot to showcase Lauren Mayberry’s ability to deliver a big-tent swooning chorus amid a blur of fashionably violet synths and danceable bounce. The next two tracks, however, display a few different flourishes from the outfit, as Martin Doherty takes over the vox on the patiently robotic M83 star traveler "ZVVL," while "Now Is Not the Time" journeys back in time a few decades on the back of Falcor to see themselves mirrored in the hologram of gemmed up '80s radio pop.

Recover serves its purpose in piquing attention around CHVRCHES' electro-pop craft spell, but even by EP standards, three solid songs alongside two remixes by Austria's CID RIM and Brit producer Curxes of the trio's most well-known track are far from enough substance to get this BUZZSound past the gate of a fair final judgement. Ultimately, the art of the tease on this all-too-brief listen leaves much of CHVRCHES' ability to convert any skeptics into believers begging for more proof through further listening.

CHVRCHES' Recover EP is available now on Glassnote Records.


  1. Why do you think they left off The Mother We Share, which is their best track (IMO) I've heard thus far... saving it for a full length release? Recover is a pretty awesome song, ZVVL (pronounced "zool?") is kind of a throwaway, and Now Is Not The Time is good (not great). Very short EP, but I'm still looking forward to hearing what else they have in store.

  2. I agree that "The Mother We Share" is a great track, but I wonder if the mere song title and how they're always compared to the Knife ("Our Mother's Health") had any weight behind its exclusion.

  3. Good point. If they're trying to shake the comparisons to The Knife, I guess they kind of shot themselves in the foot by giving such a similar title to that song.

    BTW, started coming to your site because of (or maybe in spite of?) Stereogum, and I have to say I like your coverage a lot. Keep it up.

  4. Thanks! I enjoy reading others' thoughts as well, so I appreciate