From the very first second of CHVRCHES’ debut, The Bones of What You Believe, everything just seems to come together. Resisting singular definition in terms of genre, each track emanates gripping riffs and drops, with Lauren Mayberry’s floating vocals blending seamlessly with generous lashings of synth. The record is so much more than just an indie mashup; it’s the best of intelligent pop married with energetic electronica, producing something that’s palpably unique and accessible.
‘Lies’ and ‘Under the Tide’ offer up heavier, 80s-inspired synth and some of the catchiest rhythms of the album, while ‘Gun’ and opener ‘The Mother We Share’ present some fascinating lyrics, as in the former – “Now I’ll be a gun / and it’s you I come for / Hide, hide, never felt so easy.” Omens of what’s to come throughout the album, these lyrics unearth some of the darkness laced in to the intricacies of the work as a whole. Tracks such as ‘Tether’ and ‘Science/Visions’ are made all the more eerie by Lauren’s girlish, accented tone.
What makes The Bones of What You Believe all the more great is its breadth, which spans both styles and sentiments. Moving from the sinister sounds of aforementioned tracks, both ‘Recover’ and ‘Lungs’ are cheerful, uplifting tracks with just as much appeal as their melancholy counterparts. It’s rare for an album to nail both sides of the emotional spectrum, but CHVRCHES have done so, with stunningly intricate melodies to match. Some of the dance moves that this album have induced in me personally are frankly unfit for human eyes.
Even the slower tracks are engaging, with the lingering vocals and drawn-out discord of ‘You Caught the Light’ changing the feel of the album once again. The album builds to a brilliant finale in ‘Broken Bones’ which turns the tone back towards the darkness, with guttural beats and drawn-out, developmental riffs.
So there it is, a brilliant album from a band with masses of potential – Scottish synthpop – who knew?