Chvrches, gig review: Dizzying lights not enough to ignite charisma in synthpop trio
The Forum, London
Saturday 15 March 2014
In an excruciatingly banal TV interview posted online, Glasgow's premier synthpop trio discuss their mundane tour exploits, a topic continued tonight through singer Lauren Mayberry's faltering between-number chat. She expounds on the benefits of their largest UK date – a supersized dressing room where “we can all sit down at once”.
Better perhaps to measure the group's speedy ascent by noting their remarkable Stateside success, proving Lorde's impact was no fluke. At least Chvrches realise they lack magnetic charisma, remaining silhouetted by a dizzying light show to match the writ-large melodies, wobbling basslines and crunching rhythms marshalled from behind keyboards by Iain Cook and Martin Doherty.
Mayberry's airy vocal provides fine contrast when she finds space above the gleaming Vince Clarke-inspired hook and mutant r'n'b rhythm of 'Lies' and hints at an inner steel core when she warns “I will break you down” on 'Gun'.
On tour constantly since the release of last September's debut album, Chvrches add nothing to The Bones Of What You Believe, problematic on less emphatic tunes or when Mayberry fails to ignite more conventional romantic material. Doherty's unrestrained dance brings an eccentric touch to 'Under The Tide', but this group are still realising their potential.
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