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CHVRCHES (pronounced "Churches") is a Scottish Synth-Pop trio, formed in 2011 in Glasgow. It was initially formed by long-time friends Iain Cook and Martin Doherty as a synth-pop project. At the same time, Iain was producing a record for the band Blue Sky Archives, which included Lauren Mayberry. Iain asked Lauren if she would be interested in singing backing vocals for this new project, and she agreed. Lauren was later promoted to being the band's lead vocalist.

The members consist of Lauren Mayberry (lead vocals, additional synthesizers), Iain Cook (synthesizers, guitar, bass, additional vocals) and Martin Doherty (synthesizers, samplers, additional vocals, and occasional lead vocals). Since 2018, they have also had Jonny Scott contribute drums live and in the studio.


CHVRCHES discography

  • Recover EP (2013)
  • Gun EP (2013)
  • EP (2013; Japan only)
  • The Bones of What You Believe (2013)
    Singles: "Lies" (2012; 2013 [re-recorded version]), "The Mother We Share" (2012), "Recover" (2013), "Gun" (2013), "We Sink" (2014), "Under the Tide" (2014)
  • "Dead Air" (2014, for The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1)
  • "Get Away" (2014)
  • Every Open Eye (2015)
    Singles: "Leave a Trace" (2015), "Never Ending Circles" (2015), "Clearest Blue" (2015), "Empty Threat" (2015)
  • "Warning Call" (2016, for Mirror's Edge Catalyst)
  • Love Is Dead (2018)
    Singles: "Get Out" (2018), "My Enemy" (2018), "Miracle" (2018)
  • "Death Stranding" (2019, for Death Stranding: Timefall)
  • Screen Violence (2021)
    Singles: "He Said She Said" (2021), "How Not To Drown" (feat. Robert Smith, 2021), “Good Girls” (2021)

"The Tropes We Share"

  • A Day in the Limelight/Step Up to the Microphone: Martin Doherty gets to do some vocals on at least one song per album.
    • On The Bones of What You Believe, his vocals can be heard on "ZVVL", "Under the Tide" and "You Caught the Light".
    • On Every Open Eye, he is the lead singer on "High Enough to Carry You Over". It's Sophisti-Pop style fits his voice extremely well. He also sings lead on "Follow You", a bonus song that was later included in the Extended Edition.
    • Love is Dead features his vocal stylings on "God's Plan", with Lauren singing backup.
    • On Screen Violence, he sings the line "I don't want to see it/I don't want to see it/I don't want to sleep alone, no" on "Violent Delights".
  • Album Closure:
    • "Broken Bones," the last track (and closest thing to a Title Track) on The Bones of What You Believe, is an ominous, dystopian-sounding story song distinct from the upbeat Synth-Pop of the rest of the album.
    • "Better If You Don't", the last track on Screen Violence, is an introspective guitar-led ballad.
  • Album Title Drop:
    • There's a semi-example in The Bones of What You Belive. The title's dropped in the bonus track "Strong Hand," rather than the album proper. "Give me the bones of what you believe / Maybe they'll save you from me..."
    • "Clearest Blue" drops Every Open Eye, although it comes nearly again in a mention of "Open your eyes" in "High Enough to Carry You Over".
    • Screen Violence has a semi-example in the line "pull me into the screen at the end" from "California".
  • Alternative Dance
  • Animated Music Video:
    • "Under The Tide", although shots of Martin singing are sprinkled throughout.
    • The Jamie McKelvie-directed "Bury It" with Hayley Williams. The four are featured flying around and playing with telekinesis.
  • Boléro Effect: "Tether".
  • The Cameo: Hayley Williams pops up on an remixed version of "Bury It", and Robert Smith appears on "How Not to Drown".
  • Cover Version: "I Would Die 4 U", stylised as "I Would Die 4 V", "It's Not Right But It's Okay", "Bela Lugosi's Dead" and "Cry Little Sister".
  • Downer Ending: On first listen, "Under the Tide" seems to be about a couple working through a failed relationship. However, in an interview with the lead singer, the band revealed it was written for a friend with terminal illness who recently passed. This information casts the song in a new, more depressing light.
  • Ending Theme: "Death Stranding" for the game of the same name.
  • Fading into the Next Song: "Night Sky" —> "Science/Visions" on The Bones of What You Believe, and "ii" —> "Wonderland" on Love is Dead.
  • Final Girl: The song of the same name uses this trope as a way of exploring the pressures of being a woman with a public profile.
  • Fly Or Die: This happens to Martin when the gang tries out their telekinetic powers on themselves in the music video for ''Bury It."
  • Genre Shift: "ZVVL" and the two remixes of "Recover" sound very much out of place on Recover EP.
  • Genre Throwback: To 1980s synthpop, on their earlier albums.
  • Gratuitous Panning: On "The Mother We Share", the opening "Oh ah oh oh oh ah" vocals repeatedly bounce back and forth between the left and right channels.
  • Idiosyncratic Album Theming: Both of their first two albums have an Album Title Drop, but Love is Dead broke the chain. There's a subtler one as well: their first album has a song called "Lies", the second references "Lies" in "Never Ending Circles", and the third references "Never Ending Circles" in "Miracle".
  • Idiosyncratic Cover Art: The cover of Recover EP shows a symbol with three V shapes on it. The cover of "Gun' shows a symbol with three circles. The cover of The Bones of What You Believe combines both symbols.
    • Every Open Eye dropped that design, this time focusing on pictures of flowers with mosaic-like squares put over them.
  • Indecipherable Lyrics: "ii"
  • Indie Pop
  • Last Note Nightmare: "We Sink" ends with some weird digital gurgling, which sound like the bottom of the sea.
  • Long-Runner Line-up: The band has had the same lineup since its formation.
  • Lyrical Cold Open: "Recover", "ZVVL", "Tether", "Night Sky", "Strong Hand" and "Broken Bones".
  • Lyrical Dissonance: "Gun" has rather violent lyrics for an upbeat electro-rock song.
    • As is "By the Throat".
    • Most of their music could count.
  • Non-Appearing Title: "ZVVL".
  • New Sound Album: Screen Violence. It noticeably tones down the synthpop elements of previous albums and explores more of the band's rock influences. Guitars and bass guitar is more prominently featured than before, and the band's live drummer Jonny Scott contributed live drums to the recording sessions. The only song that sounds like it could have fit on a previous album is "Good Girls".
  • Older Than She Looks: Lauren is 35, but looks (and sounds) much younger.
  • Perishing Alt-Rock Voice: Martin has elements of this. While his pitch tends to be very good, he can sometimes be a bit difficult to understand due to his strong Scottish accent.
  • Perky Goth: The video for "Empty Threat" is about a group of goth teens passing time with some underage drinking and smoking, before heading to the waterpark and having some fun. Lauren herself was a Perky Goth as a teenager and still dresses in all black or black and white when she can.
  • Post-Rock: Screen Violence has elements of this. This isn't that surprising, considering Iain and Martin were both involved in the post-rock band Aerogramme before Chvrches.
  • Precision F-Strike: "The Mother We Share", "We Sink" and "Good Girls".
  • Religion Rant Song: "Deliverance" can be interpreted this way.
  • Retraux: Their songs sound like they came out of the 1980s.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Surreal Music Video: "Gun".
  • Synth-Pop: Was the band's prominent style before Screen Violence.
  • Two Guys and a Girl: Two Guys (Iain Cook and Martin Doherty) and a Girl (Lauren Mayberry)
  • While Rome Burns: The lyrics to "Death Stranding" suggest this at The End of the World as We Know It:
    You can take my heart
    And hold it together as we fall apart
    Maybe together we can make a mark in the stars we embark
    And keep us together as the lights go dark
  • Xtreme Kool Letterz: They're named this way so they could be easier to Google.
    • Also "ZVVL".

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