The Bones Of What You Believe by Chvrches

The Bones Of What You Believe by Chvrches

 

If orange is the new black, then perhaps electropop is the new rock. The sheer diversity of sounds and styles that a keyboard or synthesizer affords you is finally making up for the lack of coolness resulting from wielding an electric guitar. Scottish indie group Chvrches is the latest to capitalize on this trend, generating significant buzz (even managing to secure a finalist slot in BBC’s prestigious Sound Of 2013 poll) on the back of their most famous song to date, The Mother We Share.

 

TRACKLIST:
#1. The Mother We Share 3:11
#2. We Sink 3:34
#3. Gun 3:53
#4. Tether 4:46
#5. Lies 3:41
#6. Under The Tide 4:32
#7. Recover 3:45
#8. Night Sky 3:51
#9. Science/Vision 3:58
#10. Lungs 3:08
#11. By The Throat 4:09
#12. You Caught The Light 5:40

 

PERSONNEL:
Lauren Mayberry: Lead Vocals, Additional Synths
Iain Cook: Synthesizer, Guitar, Bass, Backing Vocals
Martin Doherty: Synthesizers, Samplers, Backing Vocals

 

PRODUCER:
Chvrches

 

DATE OF RELEASE:
23rd September, 2013

 

SINGLES:
Lies
The Mother We Share
Recover
Gun

 

Addictive and charming, the groovy New Wave-iness of that single touches off the subject matter of universal sibling rivalry and shared purpose quite nicely. A little too much predictability – a facet that plagues most of the album, really – limits the track from turning into a truly timeless debut.

 

See, when all the cogs are moving smoothly, the Glasgow-based trio can churn out any number of decent melodies on their day. Gun for instance, effectively juxtaposes old-school synth bounce with the sickly-sweet tenor of lead vocalist Mayberry, a formula that’s sure to be mined furiously in the near future.

 

But what happens when the creative juices aren’t gushing forth and have to be cajoled out chord by chord? A collection of underwhelming filler tracks and very pedestrian dance tunes. Tether, stuck in the same two-tone pattern for most of its five-minute run, almost manages to trick the listener into anticipating an explosive finish, but the breakdown doesn’t deliver anything substantial.

 

And it’s easy to see why: the synthpop trio play it very safe, which is understandable given that they’re new to success and international exposure: there is no room for anything but ear-candy. Like a kid who gorges on way too much chocolate cake, the tastiness wears off pretty quickly for the listener, making the consumption process a chore rather than a treat.

 

As a result, the producer duo of Cook and Doherty get too comfortable with the sounds and melodies established by the fairly successful singles, and run about ceaselessly in the 8-bit wonderland they think they’ve created for the rest of the album. I’m not asking them to pull in random nuggets outside of their strong suits of pop and electronica, but a little tinkering with the mix of drum machines or the reverb on their instruments for example, couldn’t have hurt.

 

The good news is that most of the tactical errors can be corrected with experience and serious feedback. Chvrches understand that an hour of wisecrack-girly thought-stream can begin to grate on some, so they go ahead and insert Under The Tide – sung by the producers themselves – as an interlude. Unfortunately, the track is a little too claustrophobic and nauseating to do its job as a change-of-pace number. It’s the perfect example of concept trumping execution.

 

The Bones Of What You Believe remains a better-than-average debut though, because the strength of the highlights is just enough to overcome the tedium of the fillers. Besides, when three average Scottish pals can strike gold with the ska-pop of Recover, the techno-rave of Science/Visions, and the Foreigner-inspired closer ballad You Caught The Light, you’re more inclined to give them a few more chances to iron out the quirks. Doing so rekindles your faith in the democratization of music, and one shouldn’t overly fault those who put in a sincere attempt, even if the results are messy at best.

 

 

 

 

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