14 CHVRCHES: Screen Violence

2018 #58, 2015 #10, 2013 #13

Ow! No, seriously, owowowowow! I can actually barely type right now, both my arms are seriously kejiggerd. Owwwwww! After the (I think we’ll all agree, era-defining) Magdalena Bay post, I went downstairs to get a new cup of tea. My dopy, disabled, Cauda fricking Equina infested body wasn’t paying enough attention to its much compromised balance, I slipped on the stairs and fell down the fucking lot of them!

So, although I planned to write about the wonderful CHVRCHES return to form tonight, I am in no physical shape to perform my usual duties, so I’ll be leaving it until tomorrow. I’m still going to leave this bit in though, because I am meta as fook, you hear?

OK, I’m back. Thanks for all the messages of condolence and support, they really showed me how much you all care for me. I’m being sarcastic, by the way, not one of you ungrateful Gen Xers, you unthankful Millennials or you heedless Zoomers (I see you) sent me any sort of ‘get well soon’ wishes. And as for you oblivious Boomers, who didn’t… I said, AS FOR YOU OBLIVIOUS BOOMERS… Oh, forget it, you’ve fallen asleep again. And pissed yourself. And had a stroke. And died. Also, I think we’re doing a lot of creative mathematics to hide the fact that we never thought of a name for any generation/s between The Boomers and The Xers: Boomers include people born up to 1964, which is kind of taking liberties with the whole ‘post-war’ thing a bit – these people would have been six years old when the Beatles split up! – and you can apparently be defined as a Gen Xer if you were born as early as the ‘mid to late’ 1960s! That means you could have been in your thirties when Kurt Cobain died and, let’s be honest, probably done with the whole thing. Was The Falkland War in 1982 fought by Boomers?? I’m sure these days we have a new generation every eighteen months or so. I’m going to start writing this entry soon, promise.

CHVRCHES are back, bitches! I’m not sure if I’m allowed to say ‘bitches’. I was thinking of a phraseology more along the lines of “It’s Britney, bitch“, can I use it in that sense? Is that sense exclusively reserved for Britney (bitch), because I understand that she deserves anything she can get at the moment. Let me try that again:

CHVRCHES are back, guys! Nah, I don’t like using ‘guys’, it feels like I’m specifically gendering my writing. I know that a lot of you Millennials/Zoomers have done a lot of work co-opting words like ‘guys’ and ‘dudes’ so that they now refer to all genders, but I still don’t think it’s completely caught on. If you’re a straight woman, try asking your male partner how many dudes/guy he’s had sex with, and see what response you get. I realise that I may be holding on to Boomer ideas but… I said, I REALISE I MAY BE HOLDING ON TO… ah, forget it, sleep/piss/stroke/death again. OK, let me try another one:

CHVRCHES are back, homies! Nope. No, absolutely not.I’m getting there though:

CHVRCHES are back, you bunch of fucking cunts! Nailed it! Yeah, they’re back.

I can’t quite put my finger on what it is that CHVRCHES do, but they re indisputably the best at it. Electropop stylings with the euphoria and communal spirit of arena rock, but with the aggression and relentless of (perhaps even, gulp, nu) metal. They create glorious and electronically deafening noise that always still manages to stay within the limits of commercial viability. And at their heart they are always and unashamedly the most poppy of pop bands, with hooks and melodies that will always burrow under your skin, but occasionally with the erroneous aims of one of those fungi that turns ants into zombies. Those things are so fucking metal, right? They’re also a ‘Gold Star Artist’, which is an act who have had each and every one of their albums feature on Necessary Evil’s yearend list. Seriously, that’s important, and I’m not sure how many other acts can equal that. Yeah, sure, people like 070 Shake who have only had one album, I guess, but shut up, I’m making this a thing. I got the idea from that gross BBC article I wrote about, where they mentioned how that admitted sexual abuser Lily Cade refers to herself as a ‘Gold Star Lesbian’, because she has only ever had sex with women. Personally, I think that’s gatekeeping bullshit, and I don’t think being proud of not being open minded enough to only ever have sex with one gender is very 2021, but I liked the name. ‘Gold Star Artist’. It’s a thing.

But something was just… off about CHVRCHES’ previous album, 2019’s ‘Love is Dead’. Yeah, I know, right? It really felt like my love for them was dead, you get me? Ammi right? Apart from the utterly gorgeous My Enemy, it felt just ever so listless, unconfident and unsure of itself. It wasn’t a bad album, by any means, it just lacked any real spark and seemed to suggest that the band were winding down as a top tier act. The iniquitously enjoyable party that the band had ignited with their first (#10) and second (#13) album was being slowly wound down by their third #58. But ‘Screen Violence’ is more than just a return to form, it reignites their creative engines, properly focuses their lyrical concerns, and is an album that’s at least in the conversation of their best ever. It combines more naked and angry feminist words on top of some of their most explosive musical compositions yet. It’s a fucking riot.

An astonishing statement from Iain Cook (born 1974, Generation X), martin Doherty (1982, younger Gen Xer, older Millennial) and Lauren Mayberry (1987, Millennial), and one that ensures the band are still very much a going artistic concern. Right, I’m off out now, so this is the last entry for today. See you tomorrow, you bunch of fucking cunts.

BandCamp

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