No-one can hold a candle to Scottish trio Chrvrches

10:00am Monday 17th March 2014

It's reasonable to say that 'Scottish synthpop' is a pretty hard sell in this day and age, writes Phil Barnett.

It conjures up a mental image of The Proclaimers with keyboards instead of guitars. Music is not an exact science though, and, Glaswegian three-piece Chvrches are managing to make a mockery of labelling and a business in which lazy genre cliches are all too often relied upon.

The Scottish trio packed out Digbeth's Institute on Monday night in their first appearance at the popular Birmingham venue since a bit-part support show nearly 18 months ago. How times have changed.

Having stealthily pushed themselves into pole position as one of Britain's hottest pop prospects, Lauren Mayberry, Martin Doherty and Iain Cook are perhaps finding themselves under a bit of pressure.

To their credit, though, Chvrches showed no signs of buckling under it as their tour reached the Second City. Heavy bass, genuine energy and a polished and effective light show complimented their range of catchy material which manages to stay just on the indie side of pop.

It's testament to the band that this school-night gig suddenly felt like a Saturday night party, with 'We Sink' an opportune opener and 'The Mother We Share' the highlight for many. Singer Mayberry is a born frontwoman but the energy and chemistry provided by her male sidekicks ups the ante three-fold.

And if the secret in showbiz is to leave them wanting more, this electric 13-song set, lasting barely three-quarters of an hour due to their modest catalogue of material, certainly achieved that.

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