Any denizen of the blogosphere can grab some band with one good song, trump them up on a blog and hope they succeed. If not, bloggerati moves on, hoping they get lucky and right about the next one, abandoning the first one. This does no one any good, except maybe the blogger. And it builds up expectations that likely aren't met by the reader. Occassionaly I'm going to point out bands that do live up to the hype, or have at least proven that they a) can write great songs or, b) can play live c) have something that will extend a career past 2 weeks on Hype Machine. Call it anti-hype or hype redeemed.
For those of you who've conversed with me about music or followed me on Twitter (@darylberg), you've probably heard me rant about how horrible "indie rock" is these days. That everything that is calling itself indie rock, or played on satellite indie rock stations has about as much rock in it as a Jimmy Buffet weekend cruise.
When I was in college and falling in love with the pretentiousless noise and simple but effective songcraft of bands like Superchunk, Built to Spill, Archers of Loaf, etc., the words were defined by a sound. Now it all feels like solo bedroom recordings without any input other than a laptop and some Reason plug-ins; even worse, it sounds a lot more like Spandau Ballet or bad Prince than early Modest Mouse.
So if I've come to accept the big tent that indie rock has become, I'm finding it hard to accept the tuneless warbles that accompany the shift in the genre; which is why I truly appreciate Chvrches.
Yeah, they do sound a bit like OMD or some other 80s synth-pop, (though there are elements of Suicide in there) but they have three things that make them stand out above the fray, that all bands should strive for if they wanna live up to the hype.
1. They have songs. It's not just about making your verse a chorus, adding some instrumental blather as verses, looping it 10 times and calling it a day. They write great songs (which should always be point one on any converstion about pop music.
2. They counter their pop with acid. The lyrics are as pointed and sharp as the music is tuneful. This used to be the argument in favor of Steely Dan (a group I loathed as a punk rock kid, but kinda understand bit more as I've mellowed). If you're gonna make people sing along, make them sing something that deepens and adds emotion to the music. See also: Foster the People.
3. They can perform live. Though I wish they had a drummer, lead singer Lauren Mayberry is charming and completely commands the stage. "I'm sorry if i look like a cross between a school marm and a librarian" was her apology for not being great live. This self-deprecation was less accurate and more an example of the charm that went a long way to making her watchable. It's not about jumping around a stage, all the time, sometimes its just about making people people stare at you. She's the kind of performer that makes boys with glasses nervous and stare, while nodding their heads along.