Chvrches Returns With Huge Single ‘Over,’ Island Records Deal & ‘A New Lease on Life’
Chvrches has never been prone to releasing one-off singles that aren’t tethered to either a larger project or is a collaboration with another artist. Yet the long-running Scottish trio is kicking off their 2023 with “Over,” a behemoth of a synth-pop track due out on Friday (Feb. 24) that represents a new chapter for Lauren Mayberry, Iain Cook and Martin Doherty — who celebrate the 10th anniversary of their debut album this year, and are using the new single to launch their recent major-label deal.
Must-Hear Indie Artist of the Month: Wesley Joseph
“Something that’s come up recently, that I thought was a nice way to frame this, is that we signed new record deals, and there’s kind of a new lease on life for the band,” Doherty tells Billboard. “It’s a chance for us to work within a new paradigm.”
More from Billboard
Kimbra is Busier Than Ever After a Five-Year Recording Break: 'I'm Growing as a Person'
P!nk Dances Through the Drama on New Album 'Trustfall': 'If the World's Ending, I'm Gonna Get My Roller Skates'
“Over” dates back to 2017, a product of a few nights in which Doherty and producer-songwriter Oscar Holter would hang out and write a few demos together. “That was before he went on the craziest run ever,” Doherty says, referencing Holter’s work on smashes like The Weeknd’s “Blinding Lights” and “Save Your Tears” and Coldplay & BTS’s “My Universe” in the years that followed. “We were working on some stuff just for fun.”
The demo floated in the ether for a few years: the band knew “Over” could be a big song for them, but it didn’t fit on a project like 2021’s Screen Violence, which the trio wanted to write and produce completely on their own. At the end of 2022, the band reconnected with Holter, who wanted to revisit “Over” and help flesh it out into a proper Chvrches song.
The trio and Holter punched up the track and “got it to a point where everyone was happy with it,” explains Doherty, “and where it felt like somewhere that Chvrches could be going, potentially — that isn’t to say that’s where we’re going, but something that felt 2023, and not like something that’s been kicking around for a few years.”
In its newly finished form, “Over” is gargantuan, a more muscular version of Chvrches’ synth-rock sound with a classic Mayberry hook designed for expansive festival crowds. As Mayberry’s voice pleads for understanding and romantic comfort, the synth chords are smashed, lonely guitar riffs wander around and the percussion recalls a classic Jam & Lewis beat; the song has a gusto like it were made without album-track expectation or any of its limitations.
“There’s something incredibly freeing and no-strings about thinking outside of a long-form narrative, for the first time in 10 years,” says Doherty. “It’s quite liberating, and quite fun.”
After rising to fame and releasing their first four studio albums with Glassnote Records, Chvrches signed a new deal with Island Records in North American and EMI in the U.K. last year. Mayberry says that the label jump was the product of an amicable split at a time when the prospect of a new direction was appealing. “We’ve always been really lucky to have great partners with what we were doing,” she says. “Making some of the changes was quite emotional … But we’re really excited by what Island and EMI were bringing to the table.
“I don’t know if we’ve necessarily benefited from the kind of old-school approach — getting songs on the radio, et cetera,” Mayberry continues. “I don’t think that blueprint works for us. And a lot of that is based on — alternative radio in America is all f—king men! It’s all men! And there was a time, at the beginning of the band especially, where there was a narrative of, ‘Oh, we’ve just playlisted [another] band with a female vocalist,’ even if they sounded completely different than us. So it was really exciting to talk to people who viewed it more holistically, like, ‘Where are Chvrches fans, and how can we get things to them?’”
After touring behind Screen Violence over the past two years, Chvrches will head to Brazil in March for a string of dates supporting Coldplay on their global stadium tour, and Mayberry cryptically adds that “there’s another batch of shows that are coming, at some point.” When asked how much writing and recording they expect to get done this year, Mayberry admits that the band isn’t sure.
“Whatever we make next, we have to take the time on it,” she says. “It has to move the conversation forward in some way.”
“It’s an incredibly rare and privileged position after such a long period of time,” adds Cook, nodding to the decade-long run of the band since their 2013 debut, The Bones of What You Believe. “We don’t really have any kind of ceiling on things, or know this is how long this is gonna go on for. We’re just taking things as they come in, and as long as we’re enjoying it, we’ll keep doing it.”
Best of Billboard
H.E.R. & Chris Brown 'Come Through' to No. 1 on Adult R&B Airplay Chart
Anne Wilson's 'I Still Believe in Christmas' Crowns Christian Airplay Chart
Frank Sinatra, Eartha Kitt, Eagles & More: Here Are All 37 Holiday Songs on This Week's Hot 100