Purity Ring’s 2011 debut, Shrines, was a bit of a disappointment for me. I had been fully, completely given over to the first taste of their glitchy wares when they released “Ungirthed” in early 2011; each subsequent single the Montreal pair released built on that personal excitement. And then, when Shrines came out, all that goodwill seemed to have been spent on what they’d already done. The preceding singles were all there on the album, but the songs in between them didn’t expand on the duo’s central thesis, instead repeating their point ad nauseum. Some variation on their chosen theme would have been welcome.
My disappointment in the album notwithstanding, their success was certain to spawn imitators. And on their face, that’s what Glaswegian band CHVRCHES (think ‘churches’) seems exactly like: a knock-off of something that had come before them. But once you move past the immediate, easy comparison, CHVRCHES represent a more centrist version of what Purity Ring is already doing. Where Purity Ring is purposely (and often wonderfully) obtuse, CHVRCHES is clearly more interested in the pop half of their shared genre.
“The Mother We Share” is the second song the trio has given to the world, and its strength was enough to earn them a spot on the BBC’s Sound of 2013 poll. (Though its predecessor, “Lies”, is no slouch, and obviously also played a role in the band nabbing that poll position.) The song possesses an appeal that stretches far beyond the confines that blogs like ours cater to, and while we may collectively mourn them when they’ve reached a pinnacle far beyond Hype Machine, based on the near-perfection of “The Mother We Share”, CHVRCHES can (and should) have their sights set much higher.