ACL Live Review: Chvrches

Glaswegians glitter anthemic

Not all heroes wear capes. Besides calling Ted Cruz a “cock popsicle,” Lauren Mayberry loosened her political ennui in an expletive-filled diatribe before dedicating anti-love ode “Leave a Trace” to women survivors of sexual assault and abuse. “This is for all the ladies who have survived something,” lamented the Chvrches singer on Saturday.

Photo by David Brendan Hall
“Because it is not our job to get walked over by men.”

Despite the troubling political climate, the Scottish trio’s synth-pop élan provided the perfect respite for their second performance at ACL Fest’s Honda stage. Static claps met glassy electronics in anthemic opener “Get Out,” while joy and resilience proved interchangeable in stellar Every Open Eye’s “Bury It.”

Dug from the vault of their debut, The Bones of What You Believe, “Gun” buzzed and popped like restless fireflies, aided by effervescent synth stabs that crescendoed to four consecutive tracks from their latest, Love is Dead. Glitzy textures glowed on “Graffiti,” lush metallics soared in the climactic “Miracle,” Eighties arpeggiation flared Depeche Mode-like on “Deliverance,” and teenage naïveté fused to indie dance in “Forever.”

A pop powerhouse, Mayberry’s emotional range is boundless. On “Recover,” an asphyxiated chorus commingled with yearning but aching acceptance: “You take what you need/ And I know you don’t need me.”

Wistful nostalgia asked for reconciliation – “tell me, tell me, you’ll meet me halfway” – in longing pleas on “Clearest Blue,” while the ubiquitous “The Mother We Share,” masked bitter heartache in triumphant pomp elegance, a fitting if penultimate adieu.

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KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

Chvrches, ACL Fest 2018, ACL Music Fest 2018, Lauren Mayberry, Depeche Mode, Ted “Cock Popsicle” Cruz

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