The Bones Of What You Believe album cover by Chvrches
The electro-pop torch has been momentarily handed to Glasgow band Chvrches, the latest in the ongoing line of indie synth-pop groups to attract the attention of the music magazine elite – the make-or-break of indie pop on the indie music scene.
Chvrches are an electronic synth-pop band with a heavy 80s influence that includes acts like Depeche Mode, Cyndi Lauper and Kate Bush but also more recent artists like Robyn. Lead singer Lauren Mayberry has distinctively sweet vocals that would be perfectly suited for bouncier pop, a la Dragonette. Instead they’ve shifted themselves out of that realm from the get-go without losing the effectiveness of her voice.
With the group’s first full-length album The Bones Of What You Believe, they’ve come up songs that blend well together. It’s both a compliment and a curse.
On the upside, they have a clear vision and achieve it successfully. Songs like Recover and Night Sky are both electro-pop bliss. And with enough familiarization, their style and sound would be easy to spot and differentiate from the sea of similar-sounding artists. On the downside, they seem very limited.
Their sound feels stiff and the melodies never really stick. What starts off as something that sounds major never quite reaches that level by the time the chorus arrives. It ends up being underwhelming.
It’s as if the band is choosing to restrain their melodies to avoid having songs that are too melodic that might sit on the side of being legitimate earworms, and therefore be deemed too poppy – an attempt to appeal to the very elite they have in fact won over.
While such approval is limited over time, it does leave them with room to expand, albeit it also leaves them open to “selling out”. But with a group this new, an expansion in sound will serve them well. After all, there is nothing particularly bad about the record. There’s just little about it that makes it a draw. Just because I haven’t been bitten by the Chvrches bug yet doesn’t mean it won’t happen.
1. The Mother We Share
2. We Sink
6. Under The Tide
8. Night Sky
11. By The Throat
12. You Caught The Light