OCTOBER: Chvrches – The Bones of What You Believe

I feel a bit of a fraud writing an introduction to this album. I’ve barely had it any longer than you guys have. This is not an album that I’ve lived with for a long time. Its not a band that I’ve followed and developed with. As with many of my ‘discoveries’ Pitchfork bought it to me. I have an infinity with their ‘best new music’ tag. Pitchfork tend to keep true to the premise that the winners of this tag should represent a quality that music fans can access even if the genre is not to the listeners usual taste. This album scored 8.5 and the coveted ‘Best New Music’ award.

When I first heard the album it reminded me of The Knife, Deep Cuts album. This for me is a good thing. There were also shades of Passion Pit and even some stripped back M83. In short, it was reminiscent of music that I like and own. What hit me very hard however, was how bright it was. I love the clarity and pronouncement in the production. What I feel is tough to miss is the strength of the songs, this is a long list of powerful pop tracks with very little fat.

I am interested to note its longevity as I am not sure at this stage if it will stay with me for a prolonged period of time?

Brothers, what do you think?

17 comments

  1. David Allison

    Well, I think I’ve got a new favourite album. This is by far and away one of my favourite albums ever shared via our blog and it’s probably gone straight into my top 3 of the year (along with Disclosure and David Bowie).

    Electro pop – and let’s not beat about the bush – is a tough old nut to crack. It’s partly that problem of inescapably sounding a bit early 80s and coming off as a retro pastiche. For me, there have been too many outfits who’ve not cut the mustard for precisely that reason (e.g. La Roux) – you can feel them trying way, way too hard to sound like their New Wave heroes.

    Chvrches don’t have that problem. They’ve just gone out and made the album they wanted to make and as a result it sounds both breathlessly modern while managing to pay homage to its illustrious electro pop pioneers. The reason they’ve pulled it off is clear – they REALLY know how to write a tune. This album doesn’t just have one or two bangers, almost every song could be a single! I haven’t heard this strong a collection of new songs from a band in a long time. It’s just so impressive.

    What I also love is how well they understand that interplay you need to have in synth pop between aching melancholy and joyous pop hooks. These songs stand up to the very best of their early 80s counterparts.

    I have the odd caveat – Lauren Mayberry’s vocals are a girlish delight with just the right touch of Caledonian steel, but the male vocalist is nothing like as strong and his contributions are a little more forgetful. But that’s about my only criticism.

    Thanks Brother Joey, because this is one hell of a record.

  2. misterstory

    I agree with you’re points on male vs female vocal … However after living with this for a bit I find the male vocal tracks break up the album a bit. Perhaps like other artists use an instrumental track? Something of a pallet cleanser? I too love this album. All killer no filler?

  3. David Allison

    You know what, maybe you’re right. I love the phrase ‘palate cleanser’ [though I wouldn’t cleanse pallets, that’s dirty work ;-)]. Every time I listen, I do like the male vocal songs more. All killer indeed. What a debut.

  4. nolankane706

    Brother David has covered many of my thoughts on this; it’s a great album.

    I was already familar with a couple of their tracks that have been cained on the radio over the last few months but was impressed that their entire album is really strong.

    I like the fact that they are a simple band that consists of three people that can all play multiple instruments and all can sing. The shared vocal duties keep the album fresh throughout.

    They really remind me of Sneaky Soundsystem; who arguably may have been about 5 years ahead of their time which is a shame. Like Sneaky Soundsystem Chvrches bring to the table a nice warm 80’s synth sound with catchy hooks and strong vocals.

    It’s a strong album and I’m happy to have it in my life.

  5. whyohwhyohwhy

    Hmmmmm. I feel I may be bursting a bubble here. I’ve listened a few times so far and it grates more than it pleases. My first impression was that this just sounded like the sort of thing you’d hear played in the ‘love montage’ in a teen US tv show. It really left me pretty cold. And I really do like synth-driven pop (Metronomy was one of my favourite albums of the year at the time) but I am just reminded of things I’ve liked more or connected with more. Ms Mr, for one example.

    This sounds like a mish-mash of a few other things, but only coming off not as good. The Mother We Share, is just M83 without the euphoria. And I think a lot of the problem is with the vocals. The female ones just don’t work for me. I’m still not sure why, but the first listen just washed over me, all I could think of was that they sounded wrong.

    I’ll continue to listen and feed back. Sorry!

  6. David Allison

    I really think you need to give it a bit more time, Brother G. The strength of the songwriting on the record is really incredible. And yes, her voice is quite girlish but it’s got steel to it too. Live with it, I bet it grows on you.

  7. misterstory

    I went on an odd path with this album, loved it at first then thought it dipped in my opinions but then it crept up on me all of a sudden and I love it. See how giving it some time changes things, or not?

  8. whyohwhyohwhy

    I’m continuing with it, and there are tracks that are growing on me. But the jury is definitely out at the moment. It’s good pop music, but it’s only a shade off angry synth MTV fodder. I want to find a depth or a hidden nuance, but it’s just quite loud and semi-cheesily epic in places. Who knows, maybe I’ll look back in a year and laugh when it’s my favourite CD.

  9. David Allison

    I’m STILL in love with this and playing it loads. What a cracking album.
    The next test will be the 6 month mark. I find I sometimes am really into a record, but after 6 months I’m done. It had its moment and then it passed. And then with others, after I’ve had a break from it, I want to listen to it again. I hope this falls into the latter category. I think it might.

  10. misterstory

    It’s still working for me too. I’ve been listening to some other albums quite a bit but I keep coming back. I am interested in the 6 month test too. Let’s see how it does eh? If its not working though Guy then leave it Brother. Life’s too short to listen to music that gets on your tits!

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