Forget everything you may have heard about CHVRCHES. In the past year, this Scottish electro-pop trio has been compared to everyone from electronic duo, Purity Ring, to bands such as New Order and The Cure. Their singles have been blogged, reblogged and discussed over and over by critics and fans alike. With hype like this, it may be easy to dismiss CHVRCHES (pronounced “churches”) as a “fad” that will die out any day now, but that is not the case here. Their debut album, The Bones Of What You Believe, not only lives up to the hype, but it also proves that they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.
While the majority of artists create albums full of singles that will sound good on the radio, CHVRCHES has created an album that not only has the appropriate singles, but also shows the wide range of talent within the band. Singles, such as “Recover” and album opener “The Mother We Share,” are the best examples of this. By combining their signature synth sound with Lauren Mayberry’s sweet, yet commanding vocals, they have created a signature formula that sets them apart from other bands that they have been compared to. These singles may have been the tracks that caught the attention of the public, but they are not the only ones that will hold everyone’s attention. “We Sink” is just as impressive as any of the singles, with a fast-paced electronic beat and a scattering of Mayberry’s well-placed profanities. The upbeat nature of these tracks is what everyone has grown to love about CHVRCHES, but they are just a fraction of what this trio is as a whole.
The fun, 80’s electronic sound of the album may be a selling point, but it is no match for its lyrical content. It may be easy to judge Mayberry on her innocent appearance (some of us 20-somethings totally understand what it’s like to look 12), and assume that the words coming out of her mouth will be juvenile, but it’s the opposite. On “By The Throat,” Mayberry delivers lines like, “I’ll take this thing by the throat and walk away,” and it is completely believable. There is not a single track that is made up of unintelligent lyrics (Mayberry does have a masters in journalism, after all), and this fact alone makes the album incredibly captivating. However, Mayberry is not the only member of the band, and she gives up vocal duties to Martin Doherty on tracks such as “Under The Tide” and the mellow album closer, “You Caught The Light.” Although Doherty’s calming voice is used less than Mayberry’s, it is just as much a part of who CHVRCHES is.
If you were to only listen to the opinions of critics and the singles from this album, you may believe that CHVRCHES is just a fun, synthpop band with a cute lead singer. But upon further investigation, you would come to realize that CHVRCHES has not only proven themselves to be an extremely intelligent and gifted band, but they have also lived up to and exceeded the hype surrounding them. The Bones of What You Believe is not only inspired and inspiring, but it also one of the best debut albums of the year.
Lauren Mahaffy is a Syracuse, NY native and a recent graduate of Northeastern University with a degree in music business. As much as she would love to be in LA eating burgers at In-N-Out and working at a record label, she is currently spending some time at home with her dog, Princess Sparkle. When she is not job hunting, she can be found binge-watching TV shows on Netflix, posting funny gifs on Tumblr, and singing Miley Cyrus songs in the car. Read her embarrassing tweets @laurenmahaffy