Insight: Amid the chaos of 2020, CHVRCHES helped me feel at ease

'If there’s one thing I know, it’s that, pandemic or not, CHVRCHES has proven itself to be a talented and passionate group with a lot to say.'

We all have comfort bands — those musical groups that, even in the hardest of times, manage to bring us joy whenever we listen to one of their songs. 

For many, in a year that has brought so much pain and trauma, the thought of lying back and escaping into the musical world of our favorite group is an appealing one.

If you asked anyone what music they found comfort in throughout the pandemic, most people would give varying answers for different stages of the year. While I’ve consumed everything from the emo rock stylings of Paramore to the catchy satanic-metal sound of Ghost over the course of the past year, no other group has captured my heart quite like the Glasgow-based synth-pop group CHVRCHES.

Composed of Scottish musicians Lauren Mayberry, Iain Cook and Martin Doherty, this electronic trio first made a name for itself in 2012 with the release of its debut song “Lies.” With its hard-hitting synth instrumentation coupled with Mayberry’s beautiful vocals, the song was an instant hit and within a year, the group not only released its first album, “The Bones of What You Believe,” to positive reception but also cemented itself as one of the fastest-growing new acts in the synth-pop genre. 

Taking after artists like Depeche Mode and David Bowie, CHVRCHES has garnered a strong reputation for bright compositions that combine the sounds of '80s-era new wave music and modern EDM to create mind-blowing works that quickly work their way into your head. 

Subsequent albums saw the group begin to collaborate with bigger artists such as American DJ Marshmello, as well as Paramore’s own Hayley Williams. 

This fame even led the trio to lend its talents to the world of video game soundtracks. It was here where I became obsessed with the group.

Prior to 2019, I had barely heard of CHVRCHES. My only exposure to the group was through its collaboration with Marshmello on “Here With Me,” a song that failed to leave much of an impact. For the most part, I wrote the trio off as a typical commercial pop band and didn’t think anything of it. 

That is until late 2019 when it was announced the group would be writing a song for the then-upcoming video game “Death Stranding.”

When the song was finally released, I was surprised to find the exact opposite of what I expected from the group. The synth instrumentals were darker and more epic-sounding, and Mayberry’s vocals were more emotional. 

As soon as I heard the song, I was hooked. 

The lyrics paint a picture of hope in the face of uncertainty, inspired by the plot of the game, in which players take on the role of a man seeking to reconnect with America following a devastating event that left most citizens completely isolated. So it should come as no surprise why the song suddenly took on a whole new meaning following the start of the pandemic.

As businesses closed and we found ourselves having to socially distance in order to avoid exposure to COVID-19, the world seemed to completely fall apart. 

The musical I was rehearsing was indefinitely postponed, my theater classes for my second major all moved online and tensions at my former place of employment boiled over, resulting in my departure from a lot of the world I thought I knew. 

As I watched everything metaphorically catch on fire, I began searching for any form of healthy escape. 

Remembering the song that I had just become obsessed with, I dove back in and found myself connecting with the lyrics even more than I had before. 

Over time, I began listening to CHVRCHES’s other albums and absolutely falling in love with the music. In moments of sadness, I found solace in songs like “The Mother We Share” and “Miracle.” When I needed a boost in motivation, I turned to songs like “Gun” and “Bury It.” 

My favorites, however, were the ones that took a darker and more epic approach. Songs like “Science/Visions,” “Broken Bones” and even “Death Stranding” became anthems of power that filled me with just enough energy to feel as though I could tackle whatever hardship came my way.

That’s not to say that CHVRCHES is a flawless group. With occasionally corny and repetitive lyrics, anyone who is not a fan of pop music is sure to find something to criticize. 

That being said, when the group is at its best, the results are nothing short of breathtaking. 

Would I have fallen in love with CHVRCHES as much as I have had it not been for the pandemic? It’s hard to say, but if there’s one thing I know, it’s that, pandemic or not, CHVRCHES has proven itself to be a talented and passionate group with a lot to say. 

With a fourth album on the way, now is the perfect time to sit back and get lost in the wonderful world of CHVRCHES.


 Reach the reporter at nmdelga3@asu.edu and follow @DelGoada on Twitter. 

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