Church Girls | Photo by Charlie Wrzesniewski | | courtesy of the artist

Despite their name, Philly four-piece Church Girls have at best an ambiguous relationship with church. On “Hymn,” the calming acoustic opener from the group’s folk-rock debut EP, lead singer Mariel Beaumount repeats as if she’s in a trance, “Devil take me home.” Not exactly what you’d expect from a self-professed “church girl.”

This week, the group released two new tracks from their forthcoming LP, set to be released in February, and while they’ve come back with a darker sound driven by punching snares and shredding guitars, they haven’t shed their propensity for questioning religion. On “Smoke Signals,” a track whose tired guitar strums appropriately float like tendrils of smoke, Beaumont explores her own faith, concluding ultimately that it has failed her (“Well I am an ocean with the soul of the divine / But it all dries up for me this time”).

Although “Smoke Signals” retains a hint of the melodic folk-rock that characterized Church Girls’ EP, “Thousand Lives” marks a significant departure from the group’s sound of old, instead stepping boldly into the punk world. Beaumount seems to be taking a page from artists like Mitski and Francis Quinlan of Hop Along, delivering a powerfully earnest vocal performance that thrives alongside her bandmates’ guttural punk guitar chords.

Take a listen to the two new tracks below, and catch Church Girls perform at Johnny Brenda’s for their album release show on February 19th. You can grab tickets to the show here.