Why CHVRCHES Make Me Hate Music
Let’s be absolutely clear from the start though, I do not hate or blame the band for any of this. Firstly, from what relatively little I know of the people involved they are nice folk, and the songs aren’t terrible. So this is absolutely not aimed at the band; I do not hate Chvrches, but they have inadvertently made me hate music.
I know that six months after Lana Del Rey bubbled to the surface and then vanished completely like a fucking fart in a bath I shouldn’t be even mildly surprised at the breakout of gibbering hype completely inappropriate to the achievements of a band, but there is something even more surreal, albeit mercifully less widespread, about the sudden appearance of Chvrches.
The level of wide-eyed, arm-clutching, ‘oh my God this might be the one’ excitement caused by a single, solitary tune on Soundcloud is just fucking pathetic, frankly. Irrespective of how good you think the song is (and as someone who isn’t really a fan of synth-pop I was never going to be all that impressed, but no matter) it is only one song. We know nothing whatsoever about this band yet. Nothing.
To give you a little background for this, I’ll tell you a little about what happened when, six months or so after it started, this blog started to become far more about discovering new and often unsigned music, instead of just being a journal about the CDs I bought on Amazon.
I remember when I first started to get into unsigned bands, I would check out their MySpace page (look, honestly, it wasn’t all that long ago) and not unusually get really excited about the small handful of songs I found there. When you’re following recommendations from bands you already like, the chances of happening on something else you love are pretty good. Out of the four songs there would quite frequently be one or two blinders, another decent one and one more, and off to the blog I would toddle to write something excited about this awesome new band I had found.
Obviously this doesn’t apply to your civilian music fan, but particularly when I was one of the first people to write anything about a band, it wasn’t unusual to get an awkward but thrilled email thanking me for taking an interest. And then a few months later an excited offering of the newest songs they had recorded, in case I wanted to feature them again.
The guilt when I ended up not liking those new songs was really rather uncomfortable. Christ I felt like I’d betrayed them. And there’s no possible way you can write an email back to a nervous, excited young band and say ‘thanks, the first songs were great, but these are just boring, sorry’. It may be honest, but it’s also just needlessly cruel.
I learned, very quickly, that no matter how excited I was about a band from those first few recordings, I should just hold my tongue until I knew more about them and was at least reasonably confident that my enthusiasm wouldn’t just be a brief flicker followed by a return to indifference. “It’s not the despair, Laura. I can take the despair. It’s the hope I can’t stand.*“
‘Knowing a bit more’ means either hearing some more recordings, seeing them live, or something like that – making sure I had a more solid basis for my enthusiasm than just one or two decent tracks. Because one thing I learned very quickly indeed is that there are an awful lot of bands out there who are capable of producing one or two very decent tracks, and almost none of them go on to do anything else of merit ever again, and damned if I was going to be the one to offer them encouragement for a few months and then snatch it away again just as they thought they might be getting somewhere.
What I learned, basically, is that after a couple of songs you really know absolutely nothing whatsoever about a band. And the hysteria around Chvrches started after just one song. It’s based, simply, on next to nothing. And a lot of the people encouraging it should fucking well know better. They are bloggers, radio producers, reviewers… people who have seen this shit a thousand times before and should be able to muster at least a modicum of self-awareness and restraint.
A friend of mine who works in radio said that he was getting phonecalls, all of a sudden, from major label A&R scouts asking about the band. After one song. From people too fucking lazy to come up to Scotland to see the band themselves, and from people who have surely been through the hype cycle so many times they should be yawning through all this rubbish instead of being caught up in it worse that the regular punters. And you wonder why no-one respects A&R scouts.
So honestly, Chvrches have nothing to do with this, and I know this seems like an anti-Chvrches rant, but it isn’t supposed to be. They released a track and tried to promote it as best they can, the same as any other band does. And if people love it, then that’s great. But surely people who have been involved in music for more than a little while know better than to get themselves all hot under the collar like this on the basis of so little.
It’s fucking pathetic. There is no information about this band. We know nothing yet. It’s like wanking yourself sore to the fuzzed out porn you see on hotel TVs when you’re too cheap or too scared to pay for them to unscramble the fucking channel.
And you know what, their next song turned out to not be very good.More: chvrches