Ever since Chvrches graced the BBC’s Sound of 2013 poll last year, we all knew they were bound for success. Indeed, the stylised, and somewhat confusing, spelling of “Churches” initially dominated my curiosity, however before long, it was less about the name, and more about the music. Formed in 2011, the Glaswegian trio seemed to have created their own distinctive sound – an effortless fusion of indie and synth pop. After supporting the likes of Passion Pit and Two Door Cinema Club, and securing slots at numerous music festivals, it was about time we heard their debut album, The Bones of What You Believe.
From the very opening track, “The Mother We Share”, Chvrches introduce the melodic synths and pounding bass which dominate the album, while the voice of Lauren Mayberry swoops and swerves round these hooks with an astonishing sense of clarity. In fact, the angelic tone of her vocals almost contrasts with the refreshing, simplistic melancholy.
Without a doubt, catchy is what Chvrches do best. From the very first listen, I couldn’t escape from singing along, even if I wanted to. The fast, uplifting pace of “We sink” and “Night Sky” are perhaps the most appropriate examples, as the short, snappy choruses are kept very sweet indeed. However, catchy doesn’t always mean cheerful, as shown in “Tether” and “Science/Visions”, where the shimmering synths and pulsating bass create a darker, more menacing mood. The tempo of “Tether” progresses slowly, from the angst-ridden beginning to the loud, synth-fuelled end, while the piercing vocals of “Science/Visions” plummet over the muffled beat.
It’s clear to see why singles such as “Lies” and “Recover” set Chvrches off to such a successful start. While “Lies” emits a determined vibrancy, and “Recover” combines its thumping bass with lyrical vulnerability, both are instant hits. Likewise, dance-worthy track “Gun” is a highlight, with tinkling chimes and a chorus that will be stuck in your head for days. However, “Under The Tide” and “You Caught The Light” lack the vocal precision of Lauren, making these the slightly weaker tracks of a very strong album. With a debut like The Bones of What You Believe, it’s fair to say I’m looking forward to what comes next from this trio.