Scottish synth-trio Chvrches (pronounced ‘Churches’, to make things clearer) have had a pretty good year by all accounts. After coming fifth in BBC’s ‘Sound of 2013’m the group released their Recover EP to a fairly strong response, whilst also embarking on a fairly broad summer festival tour across the globe – all without having a studio album under their belt.
Until now that is.
The Glasgow three-piece have unveiled their debut album The Bones of What You Believe, following the fanfare received by lead track The Mother We Share, which, coincidentally, is also the album opener. The track serves well to draw you into the Chvrches sound – combining electro-pop with as many synths you could shake a stick at, immediately The Mother We Share draws strong resemblance from the Ellie Gouldings to the Goldfrapps, all the way to Prince. In parts at least.
Unfortunately, whilst lead singer Lauren Mayberry’s calm, often enchanting, vocal abilities prove impeccable with the first album track, you could often feel lost, forgetting you are hearing one full LP vs an incredibly long song; at times at least. Second track We Sink alas fails to impress. Focusing far too much on the synth (which, for all intense purposes, IS the ‘Chvrches-USP’), Martin Doherty’s vocals bring far too many similarities to an 80s sound (think New Order). Whilst this is no bad thing, it’s a complete surprise how this was picked up for the FIFA ’14 soundtrack – it’s far removed from chart abilities.
HOWEVER, things take a turn to the positive with Gun; here the Ellie Goulding-similarities will appear in full swing; just listening to the song makes you believe the trio had a whale of a time making the album.
Tether, whilst bringing the tempo down, is impeccable in its approach. With the hype around London Grammar currently gracing critics, and fans alike, it’s easy to see Tether bringing a new set of fans onboard for the Chvrches ride.
It’s obvious from the offset that the album is focused on synth. Whilst it’s completely refreshing to hear at first, after a couple of plays, it’s easy to get bored. There are of course some standouts; Recover, whilst sharing similarities to The Mother We Share, is simply wonderful, whilst the fusion of 80s synth with modern-day dubstep/grimes instruments work impeccably well throughout Lungs.
All I’m, a charming debut effort by Chvrches. There’s a strong theme on The Bones of What You Believe, plucking synth-beats from their 80s grave, and mixing them up with a more modern sound does seem to work well, however some listeners may oft switch to listen to something more subdued after a while. Is it one for the collection though? You bet!
Hit the iTunes link below to buy The Bones of What You Believe: