The Churchills’ ‘odds’ are in their favor

Michael McKenna

Chances are you have either never heard of the Churchills, or they are your guilty pleasure. If you have not heard them before, take a listen to their latest record, “The Odds of Winning.” Odds are you will not regret it.

Though their ultra-pop rock sound may tune out some listeners, the Churchills’ latest release offers a few gems that even the most die-hard rock purest can nod their head to. With clean vocals, smooth yet simple musical prowess and “big finish” pop choruses planted like landmines throughout the record, “The Odds of Winning” provides everything you have come to expect from the Churchills with a bit more lyrical darkness than their 2002 album “Big Ideas.”

The band has taken an introspective turn in writing their songs which seem to be mostly about lost love, insecurities, and coming to terms with your own humanity. If you are finished sobbing or sighing, depending on your tastes, there is an upside to this style of lyrical writing: richer and catchier tunes.

Skip over tracks with contrived lyrics like “Unpopular,” “Waiting for Someone to Save Us,” and “It Only Hurts When I Breathe,” where lead singer Ron Haney croons, “It only hurts when I breathe / I only breathe when I cry / I only cry when I realize I’m stuck here.” It Sounds like somebody needs a hug.

The album’s title track and the anthem-like “Sometimes Your Best Isn’t Good Enough” are clear signs that the Churchills have done their pop-rock homework. These tunes are well executed and produced to a fine luster.

The suspenseful “Tailspin” and its reprise, “Spun,” combines a soaring sing-along chorus with pounding, rhythmic guitars and drum play. The reprise offers patient listeners with an ear for instrumentals some intriguing material. Its snazzy cool-funk bass licks, and haunting synthesizer effects, allow you a moment to catch your breath from screaming the “Tailspin” chorus at the top of your lungs.

“I’m a Sucker for a Girl in Uniform” is probably the catchiest tune on this album. It has all of the elements the band has prided itself on and stands out as the pinnacle piece of pop on this hopeful offering. It will also help you forgive them for finishing the album with the clich