Church of Scars. “Playing dead, I’ll never do,” she promises, and the lyric isn’t a typical pop-star boast, as the British-American singer makes the simple act of singing a song feel like an act of rebellion. While the arrangements on Church of Scars occasionally veer into mainstream-pop artifice, the restless, ambitious spirit of Bishop Briggs, née Sarah Grace McLaughlin, balances out the producers’ more commercial instincts. Unlike many modern pop divas, Briggs doesn’t need a small army of professional songwriters to smooth out the edges of her music — she wrote the entire album on her own. That trust in her own vision fuels the intensity of “Hallowed Ground,” a gospel-tinged anthem that’s both reverential and provocative.
“Take a hit, shoot me down, shoot me down,” Bishop Briggs intones like a mantra on “White Flag,” from her debut album,