The past three Chvrches singles were notable for their immediacy; Lies, The Mother We Share, and Recover were all instantly-accessible pop hits. This applies both in terms of medium and construction: instantly available to stream on the ’net – emerging fully formed and universally embraced with the kind of fervour only the very best best hype-bands can manage – and instantly understandable from a musical perspective. There are no secrets of structure here, no complex mystery that has to be coaxed out over many listening sessions. This is pop music, plain and simple.
The question on everybody’s lips when Lies first surfaced was “Is this just a flash in the pan? Do they have an album of songs like this, or are they the next one-hit-wonder?” There is an album on the cards, we’re told, but that won't surface until the autumn. Until then, the Chvrches PR opperation will continue to operate like the slick, well-oiled machine it’s already proven itself to be. Just when the lyrics of a Chvrches single begin to sound overly shallow, just when the textures and beats that initially entranced begin to sound tired and thin, up pops a new release. So it was with The Mother We Share and Recover, and so it is again with the latest single, Gun.
Unlike their previous fait acompli, Gun had been kicking around in the Chvrches live set for a while before its release, and as a result was already slightly familiar by the time the studio version was revealed. This familiarity proved to be a double edged sword, as it meant that Gun never had the showman-like whisking-away-the-curtain reveal that their previous efforts benefited from. Familiarity, as they say, breeds contempt. Conversely, it meant that Gun had the chance to grow like a real record; stripped of the ooh-ahh spectacle, Gun had to earn it's place in our affections.
Make no mistake, Gun is no less hooky and accessible as the rest of Chvrches’ tracks – no radical departure here, no sir! – but it’s reassuring to see that this hyped-to-high-heaven band actually can hold their ground in a more considered arena.
I've no doubt that in a couple of months this, too, will sound a little less glitzy, a little more tepid, but by then the machine will have lumbered onwards and we’ll have another Chvrches single to sate our appetite. My only worry is that when the album finally arrives it will be packed to the gunnels with great pop singles that we’re all already bored with...