It is no secret that electronic synthpop has been on the rise in recent years. M83, Grimes, MGMT, etc. are all recent acts that have pushed the limits and driven the genre to more modern heights. Now add to that list CHVRCHES. These Scottish synthpoppers have been garnering quite a buzz since their two EP releases in 2013, as well as their highly praised performance at this year’s SXSW festival. Now with the release of their first full length album, the world can welcome yet another bouncy, electronic whirlwind of a record full of bright noise and fun beats.
CHVRCHES are more and more frequently being dubbed the Swedish M83. Yes, the similarities between the two will immediately strike you as you start up the album. Some of the comparisons will stick, where as others will probably flounder. Not only do CHVRCHES have an overall brighter pop feel, it’s generally more straightforward music than M83’s work as well. Not quite so airy, and not quite so mysteriously dark. In some areas it’s hard not to hear bits of Madonna in there material as well. And while we are on the comparison caboose, why not throw in the fact that some parts sound like they were directly ripped from the Drive soundtrack. Not that this is bad by any means. In fact, it’s becoming increasingly hard to listen to any electro-pop song after watching Drive and not have scenes from the flick flash through your mind.
The band is assembled of Iain Cook, Martin Doherty, and Lauren Mayberry, the youngest of the three at 25 years old. Iain and Martin attended college together, and they found Lauren (a gal of many trades and talents, including journalism) years later, after they all three had played in separate bands. Now they make up CHVRCHES, and all seem to play an integral parts in the band, blending roles such as synth, vocals, writing, and producing. This helps keep the album fresh, even though it toils in a genre that tends to run a bit stale and repetitive after a while.
Overall, these comparisons and efforts from the band are a good thing. Moments like “Tether” and “Lies” really show a lot of promise of what the band is capable of. And moments like the intro of “The Mother We Share” and the end of “Night Sky” show us that even Ke$ha has an influence over
these indie popsters. That’s no offense to either party, God knows I love my Ke$ha. All that to say, here and there I do find myself feeling like the album is a bit of a “young band album”, that is just a few steps away from being something really great. Some songs like “Lungs” feel especially juvenile, but at the same time, some of these songs can be the most fun on the album. So it’s hard to speak too negatively on them. I think after the band is a bit more experienced with each other and attempts to take a few more risks with their sound rather than something so straightforward, they will hone into their own sound a bit more.
^Marks the 2nd time in one week I’ve posted this video
So if you are a fan of any or all of these sounds I’ve mentioned, odds are you will enjoy The Bones of What You Believe quite a bit. As with most of these types of albums, the thing I question the most is its staying power. As of now, it is an album on my list of heavy rotation. However, I would be surprised that if by next spring it resurfaced from the depths of my library too often.
Can’t Miss: “Tether”, “Lies”, “Recover”
Can’t Hit: “You Caught the Light”, “By The Throat”