Chvrches – The Bones of What You Believe

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The Bones of What You Believe is the debut album from Glaswegian trio, Chvrches.  Consisting of Lauren Mayberry on vocals; Iain Cook on synths, guitar, bass, and backing vocals; and Martin Doherty on synths, samplers and vocals, they have slowly been revolutionising the electro-pop scene for the past two years. Despite coming fifth in the BBC’s Sound of 2013, the group are proving why they’re set to leave their mark on the music world, contrary to their critics’ beliefs.

With a sound which can only really be described as “synth-pop”, The Bones of What You Believe mixes sinister lyrics, melting ethereal vocals, and futuristic synthesisers to produce a well-rounded and enjoyable record.

Opening with breakthrough single, ‘The Mother We Share’, the album sets itself a very high standard from the start. If you haven’t heard ‘The Mother We Share’, it’s an incredibly upbeat track filled with layered vocals, and what may be one of the catchiest choruses of the year.

At times, The Bones of What You Believe is a bit hit-and-miss. Tracks like ‘Lies’, ‘Recover’, and ‘Science/Visions’ detract from the general feel of the album and feel over-produced in parts, often swallowing Mayberry’s vocals, or simply sounding like generic experimental pop.

However, when The Bones of What You Believe is on form, they unearth a thing of beauty. When Lauren Mayberry and Martin Doherty’s vocals are paired, they resemble The xx, and that is no bad thing. ‘By the Throat’ is a prime example of this. Its anthemic chorus may not be one of the most exciting that you’ll ever hear, but it will get stuck in your head. Here there is a stronger focus on the vocals, and a more stripped-back production allows for the vocal interplay to really scintillate. With lyrics like, “All that’s golden is never real”, ‘By the Throat’ shows that it is *not* golden, but rather a diamond in the rough.

There seems to be a lack of consistency though, and this comes mainly when Chvrches try to be too experimental. High calibre tracks such as ‘You Caught the Light’ and ‘Night Sky’ are ruined somewhat by their respective intros and outros. Luckily, these are only minor issues and they make us wonder where Chvrches could take us if they really committed to these experiments. The band have forged somewhat of a “Kings Of Leon fed through a synthesizer” vibe on many of these tracks (without Caleb’s southern drawl) and this in no way detracts from the experience.

Overall, Chvrches have crafted a very exciting debut, and these bones look set to provide support for a very long career.

8/10

Released 23/9/2013 on Virgin Records Ltd

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