Church Girls Get Introspective on Debut Album, “Thousand Lives”

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Fast-forward about a year later from that first EP and the band has unveiled the results of their hard work in the form of the freshly released album, Thousand Lives! Mariel gave Rock On Philly some insight as to what went into her songwriting process, sharing “I wrote most of these songs in summer of 2015. They seek to confront my biggest weaknesses and struggles, the ones that I think (and hope) are relatable: my self-destructive nature, my failure to communicate, my jealous head. The album title Thousand Lives is about the ambition to do something new but never quite mustering up what you need take the plunge, so you’ve imagined a bunch of other realities for yourself that never panned out.”

Enjoying the new album since its release, one of the very first things that jump out at me is the great tempo of the songs on the front end of the record. As the band has a penchant for excellent live shows with an already strong set of music, the prospect of enjoying music such as the albums title track “Thousand Lives” and the albums second song “Avalanche” alongside songs like “Flat Circle”, “Young Planes” and “Powder Keg” set the stage for some great shows for fans to look forward to.

As the song “Dead” kicks in on the third track an exploration begins into various depths of introspect and reflection, starting with musings on far gone figures of the past with whom we may identify in life leaving both their mark of companionship felt as well as their absence felt and known. “Dead” feels like an icebreaker or foot in the door to the gradual vulnerability that begins to take shape on the album’s next song, “Sink”. If “Dead” is indeed a step of faith into openness then “Sink” appropriately enough takes the plunge forward into the deep end of self examination and the internal human condition, wading through and pressing in like a rudder in the water to get to where it is necessary to begin to navigate the deeper matters that bounce around the human mind. It is from that moment, one of reaching that point of vulnerability inside that we are prone to protect and keep guarded, that the listener is taken swiftly into the current of the song (interestingly enough) entitled “Slow”. As this progression on the record is taking place, it becomes more and more visibly clear that the band is embracing a willingness to break down barriers and walls translate in an exploratory and expanded sound that reflects the intrepid and dynamic tensions of life and growth experiences that Church Girls has gone through as a band in only a year’s time.

Suddenly, once guarded and hidden talking points become sharp turns, ins-and-outs, rapids and turns increasingly and daringly touched upon as the outpouring flow of personal and intimately meditated thoughts, memories and feelings pour right into the listeners ears, making there way out into the light. In opening up a bit on her song-selection, Mariel especially noted the next song on the record in particular as a unique stand-out: “‘Green’ was the last song I wrote. I sent it to the band in a bit of an unfinished state, so we all got to work on it together leading into the sessions. It went through a lot of discussion and reworking, and as a result has become the band favorite. I’m really happy with that song.” Continuing to elaborate further on some of the instrumentation and music that made its way into the creative process at Miner Street, she highlights Rob Dwyer’s work saying: “Our guitar player Rob is an amazingly versatile player, and he put down some dark, weird, and awesome guitar tracks, including some slide guitar and lap steel. It helped give the songs the texture and depth they were previously lacking.” As “Green” concludes the final song “Smoke Signals” takes its rightful place at the bookend of the band’s first full-length telling of the stories from a year long journey. The song captures the spirit and process encapsulated in the lyrics of the album up until it’s beginning. An opening up, a sharing, a recollection, an introspective, a resonance and a resolve.

In regards to her studio experience, Beaumont speaks glowingly about the bands time at Miner Street, saying “Recording with Brian McTear was the absolute best. He fully devotes his attention to the vision and quality of the project in a way I’ve never experienced before. And he really helped develop a cohesive sound for the album.” Brian too echoed similar sentiment about the band in recalling some of the background behind how their collaboration came about, saying “I met Mariel through a Weathervane Music Recording Workshop way back in 2013 or so. She came in to learn about the basics so as to make her own demos. Flash forward a few years, and many more workshops, and it was awesome to be working on an actual record with her. Our engineer Matt Poirier and I made some pretty disruptive suggestions – mostly simplifications, and yet everyone was so positive and willing. By the time we were cutting vocals it just felt like we had such a huge creative and collaborative success on our hands. I can’t wait to record again (hopefully later this year).”

Be sure to pick up Thousand Lives right here on Bandcamp, give the new album a listen and be sure to check out the band on February 19th at Johnny Brenda’s with tickets here.

What do YOU think of Church Girls’ new album? Let us know in the comments below!

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