20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on December 24, 2013
This was the year of synth disappointments. I wanted to love the M83 album. I didn’t. I wanted the new Empire of the Sun effort to be every bit as defining as their first. It wasn’t. I’m starting to notice a pattern wherein bands driven by electronic and synthesized sounds tend to hit the sophomore slump a lot harder than most bands. With that in mind, it’s no surprised that this synth gem is a debut. But in seriousness, they are so, so good. You’ve probably heard “Recover” whether you realize it or not, and “The Mother We Share” is phenomenal – my play count is in the 40s and I’m not sick of it yet. The hidden gem here is “Lungs”. The restrained synth bass drives the song patiently along until about after the first chorus, and then it lashes out at you in the same way that the roller-coaster bass of M.I.A.’s “Bucky Done Gun” did, but then retreats quietly back into its shell until the it ends the song with a heartbeat-breakdown that requires you to dance. In fact, in thinking about it, that’s what they do so well. Like M.I.A., CHRVCHES can take a good song and figure out exactly what delicate 10-second bit of finesse they need to add to make it addictive – you go back and listen again for those 10 seconds, even if you don’t realize that’s why you’re doing it.
30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on October 3, 2013
Oh my... synthpop throwback bliss! This debut album by Chvrches is right there alongside other recent great nostalgia filled albums by Cut Copy & The Naked and Famous. I bought this unheard except for one track off their recent EP, and am just blown away by each track - it just keeps getting better and better the whole way through. Production is tops too - all of the sounds are placed very well, synths aren't overly dominating, and the female vocalist is very charming.
23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Every time I think today's youth is lost, and that music will never be good again, a band like Chvrches comes along and restores my faith.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on September 24, 2013
For the past year, buzz about Scottish synthpop band Chvrches has been steadily growing. From appearances at major festivals like SXSW to touring alongside bands like Depeche Mode and Passion Pit, Chvrches have been doing their best to stand out in a sea of synth pop. And on their debut, "The Bones of What You Believe"--they do in fact stand out in the best of ways. Accessible and fun yet with an underlying aggression and angst paired with strong beats and a full bodied vocal, Chvrches has created an album that many established pop stars don't seem to be capable of making.
Lead vocalist Lauren Mayberry deserves much of the credit for the success of this album. A lot of similar bands have girl vocals that are thin and whimsical, but Lauren has a fuller sound, better range and an uncanny skill at building layers of drama and emotion through tiny tone changes. She can casually get away with quite dark lyrics at times and still have the music sound very danceable and light given her sweet clear tone. Just like how it took me several plays of Foster the People's "Pumped Up Kicks" to actually realize what they were singing about as the lyrics and bouncy tone are quite incongruous, Lauren's music has several similar moments though not to that extreme. Her lyrics have an intelligence and layer of complexity that is unusual, which may or may not be related to the fact that Lauren is highly educated with a full law degree as well as Masters in journalism.
Musically, this album doesn't exactly break new ground but when playing the album through--the songs thankfully do stand out from each other which I find is my most common problem with synth based music. It's also more refreshingly straightforward than similar bands like Purity Ring. And yet-with Lauren's vocals--it still has the ability to stomp out major anthems for intense highs. "Recover" is mind numbingly catchy with a chorus that's going to wreak havoc with your subconscious. "Science/Visions" has a very ethereal almost movie score quality to it which is very interesting. "Gun" was just featured on the FIFA 14 soundtrack and suitably shiny and bright.
Finally, if you happen to have a chance to see them live--do so. While they are naturally high energy with an infectious enthusiasm---they're also hilarious and self deprecatingly genuine. In short--though not musically brilliant, this album has so much going for it just entices and draws you in. It's like a will-o-the-wisp ghostly shining on a dark moor at night. You just can't help yourself but to follow. And dance.
For fans of bands like Passion Pit, M83, The Naked and Famous, Purity Ring and Kate Boy.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on October 6, 2013
Seems like the EP for Chvrches was everywhere - so either they are just that amazing or they have an amazing promoter. Turns out, it's a bit of both. Lots of good songs here and enough diversity in the album to keep you entertained. Standouts include Lies, Lungs, The Mother We Share, Recover and Gun. I like the expansive nature of the sound and the lyrics. Definitely worth full price - a must have if it's on sale.
18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on October 26, 2013
I was lucky to have been introduced to Chvrches via Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. After hearing them, I ventured to YouTube and other performances on the internet that made me anxiously await the release of Bones of What You Believe. Many albums only have one or two songs that are good but this album has no dead spots. The vocal style of Lauren Mayberry stick with you long afterwards and the more you listen to the album the more you appreciate them.
My only criticism and it is not just with this album but many new cd releases is that it seems the sonic quality is degraded maybe to be more playbable on portable devices. The keyboards could have been much more rich and punchy as hear on many synth oriented albums from the 80's i.e. Depech Mode, Human League, Gary Neuman. I wish Chvrches would remix the album especially "Lies" which fails to deliver the kick that it can, but is lost in the mix. Love the album though, just know what it could sound like if given the proper mix.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on November 15, 2013
Chvrches has made a great album, and there isn't a bad song on this debut. Get it! You won't be disappointed!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on May 3, 2014
Everyone needs this album. And I am not exaggerating. This is one of the VERY FEW albums in which every single track has its own greatness, yet it doesn't stray from the overall aura of the album.
The Mother We Share: This is a perfect opening to the album. With Mayberry's refreshing and crisp vocals and great synth and keyboarding, this is one of their most popular tracks, and undeniably so. It has such a good feel to it and basically lays out the album's style. 10/10.
We Sink: I absolutely love the synth on this track. This is a very easygoing, pop-y and fun track. 9.6/10.
Gun: This song isn't just one of the best on the album, it shows just how CHVRCHES became so popular and why so many people love them. With a good premise, amazing chorus, and a hard-hitting style, Gun is an essential to the album. 10/10.
Tether: Ahhhhh, I love this song so much. There are really two parts to this song: a nice, calm, guitar-and-synth part where most of the vocals are (which are great, of course), and then there is a flawless merge into a completely fun, synth-crazy, dance-y part which I LOVE. 9.9/10.
Lies: Their first track, Lies is a hard-hitting anthem with striking and precise vocals from Mayberry and fantastic synth and sampler runs. Listened to this on repeat for an hour and loved it more and more each time. 10/10.
Under The Tide: The vocals take a turn, with Doherty taking a spin at them and Mayberry going to synth. Both of them do exceptionally well, and I love the live performance of this song (all of the JUMPING AND DANCING from Doherty is funny and exciting). 9.4/10
Recover: A very popular track, Recover is clean, refined, and puts Mayberry's vocals back on display. 9.7/10.
Night Sky: A different approach on the album, this is more of a taken-back feel, but goes all out on the chorus, to the group's advantage. The lyrics are infectious and the ending is chilling and interesting. 9.6/10.
Science/Visions: This is a dancing song, definitely. Mayberry's vocals are the main highlight on this track, and they are some of the best on the album, cutting through you like a knife through butter. The synth and keyboard effects are intense and perfectly placed. The last chorus is my favorite part. 10/10.
Lungs: Described by Mayberry as a "palette-cleanser", this track is not a filler, but is one of the shortest tracks on the album. This isn't bad, though. The track is simplistic and melodic. 9.7/10.
By The Throat: The vocals and the synth are powerful, and the chorus will stick with you. Very deep. 9.5/10.
You Caught The Light: This is a calm, flowing, and chilling closer. It has a bit of a Rolling Stones feel at first, the sort of evolves into a 80s esque flow with Mayberry's synth cutting through into the melody flawlessly. Doherty's vocals are perfect on this song, and this closes the album with grace and passion, with a bit of nostalgia. 9.9/10.
This album is forever recommended. Be prepared to be sucked in.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on November 12, 2013
Lauren Mayberry's voice combined with the electro-synth-pop sound is great, but don't expect anything deep from the lyrics. The album has good flow and range in its variety.
The extra cost for the special edition was worthwhile.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on March 16, 2014
I have always wondered why pop music as a genre tends to be overwhelmingly crap. It is possible to do pop music that has depth and integrity, the Beatles managed it. Chvrches are here to save pop music! They make a form of electro pop that is similar to Depeche Mode or maybe Pet Shop Boys but still manages to sound like an original take on the genre rather than mere copycat. The hooks will have these songs stuck in your head all day. The beats and melodies are to die for! The lead vocalist is one Lauren Mayberry a young woman who looks a lot younger than she actually is. Her singing is one of the most enjoyable sounds I have heard in a long time. I could listen to her all day. There are tracks here that can easily get the dance floor moving, tracks for breakups, tracks for driving down the highway. This is one of the most perfect pop records I have ever heard. Do yourself a favour and buy it now!