Published Apr 20, 2018Sarah Grace McLaughlin, aka Bishop Briggs, made her mark on the indie pop scene with her widely acclaimed 2016 hit "River" — accumulating over 60 million streams. Last year, she added to her repertoire with the release of her self-titled EP, and now her long-awaited debut, Church of Scars, blends rock, pop and soul styles in a genre-bending collection that relishes in dark lyrical imagery.
McLaughlin's voice is immensely powerful. Church of Scars is a high-energy album from start to finish. Her style and essence is very reminiscent of Florence + the Machine and Banks, but she sets herself apart through intense beat drops and her gospel choir roots.
Prominently featured on every track are hip-hop-style bass lines fused with electric guitar. "Tempt My Trouble" builds an energetic melody as McLaughlin shifts from gentle to alleviating verses, but never fails to keep your attention. The trap-esque beats on "Wild Horses" and "River" holds nothing back, as McLaughlin unleashes her powerhouse vocals on the chorus. More down-tempo, dark tracks like "Lyin" and "Hi-Lo (Hollow)" induce heartrending emotions, but they are anthems that keep you engaged the entire time. McLaughlin's ability to draw you in with her warmth through her emotive voice truly demonstrates her talent.
Church of Scars is a fine collection that highlights McLaughlin's prowess as a vocalist. Her talent in mixing an array of genres into a cohesive package has become a staple of her style, yielding sounds that are incredibly infectious while still packing a punch. (Island)