“I could’ve done a better job at communicating, but things just fell apart,” says Mariel Beaumont, lead singer and guitarist for one of Philadelphia’s most promising new indie rock bands, Church Girls. The band has dealt with some turbulence, but they’ve refined their sound and come into their own with members Michael Liszka (Drummer), Joseph Wright (Guitarist) and Vince Vullo (Bass), who they brought on shortly before their UK tour. The new lineup exudes raw potential with unshakable chemistry.
Two years ago, Beaumont left her full-time job at a clothing brand. Since then, she’s cultivated the hard-earned ability to manage a band and preserve its morale by being more open and direct, drawing on the lifeforce of compassion and patience to listen to one another and understand that humility comes with the territory of being in a tight-knit group.
Church Girls’ newly released EP, Cycles, grapples with the dissolution of relationships, and the responsibility one faces in setting boundaries for loved ones who encounter the quicksand of substance abuse. Beaumont concedes, “This person has a disease. As much as I’ve blamed that family member for certain failures, I have my own. I could’ve addressed the problems at hand, instead of pretending everything was fine and just receding.” Beaumont’s commitments are transparent on the powerful, forthright and compelling self-titled track; “Cycles” clinches the album with its familial pact and reprise, “I will show up when you call / You’re still my blood after all.”
Cycles was produced by Scott Solter (The Mountain Goats, Superchunk, Okkervil River), as was the band’s 2018 EP, Home, and they’ve already scheduled more time to record a full-length with the critically acclaimed producer. Beaumont describes the new EP’s sound as one that has shifted from an indie rock aesthetic to post-punk aggression.
“Dry Out” is the ultimate admission of fault, as Beaumont explains, “Maybe I fucked up.” Revisiting the dissolution of her original lineup, Beaumont recounts her path of self-proclaimed martyrdom while enduring the anxieties of being in charge of the whole operation on a trial by fire tour. Nevertheless, Beaumont sought after a silver lining: “Maybe the demise of the old lineup came at the perfect time. It happened fast, and we rebuilt with the right people. Granted, I should’ve been more communicative. We were moving further and further away from each other.”
Parquet Courts, Can, Television, IDLES, Protomartyr, PUP, Interpol and Dinosaur Jr. are all staples in Church Girls’ repertoire of rock, pop punk and post punk influences. Cycles contains some of these edgier, fuzzier, bristly moments that espouse physicality and give way to a more captivating live performance. “We’ve been going after something more tribal, a transcendent quality where you can kind of feel it in your chest. That’s how I feel like we connect with our crowd the best,” states Beaumont. “We play a little harder and faster now. I scream a little bit more. We’ve also been enjoying the regularity of mosh pits at our shows.”
“Balance” is another song about boundaries, oscillating between compassion and boiling frustrations with relapse. “Where’s the appropriate line to draw? At the same time, you wanna be compassionate and ya know—that person’s your family too. I’m always trying to find the right balance. They have this disease, but when are they using it as an excuse, or not working on improving themselves?” Beaumont emphasizes how Cycles is about repeated behavior and dealing with the aftermath of an ostensibly Sisyphean task.
“I have an addictive nature that I need to address myself, so I shouldn’t be judging this person for their issues. Whether it’s drinking or pretending everything’s fine, I’ll keep coming back. Despite all the cycles of resentment and reconciliation, I’ll keep coming back. There’s still a way to win, and I’m still going to try and make things right.”