When I first heard the Recover EP earlier this year, I must admit that it was somewhat smothered within the exploding closet of 80s influenced indie-pop within which I have been fleeting from catchy single to melodic opening hook with a huge grin on my face. It wasn’t until the release of the band’s full length album, The Bones Of What You Believe, that I realised that Chvrches may be one of the more impressive and genuinely talented bands amidst the early 2010s synth-pop explosion.
One notable triumph realised in Chvrches’ formula within the debut full length release is just that: the album is successful in applying formulaic (for once, I use this expression in a complimentary sense) pop formats of old whilst retaining, even complimenting, a contemporary sounding, dreamlike and indie sound. Corny fade-outs and unabashedly cheesy synth openings litter the album, whilst strange vocal rhythm’s keep the songs dynamic and prevent a sense of disinterest within the singing which too many vocalists of Mayberry’s style are guilty of. Tracks like Gun and The Mother We Share both showcase these irregular, and at times genuinely grin inducing, vocal melodies in their chorus’. It’s in moments like these that the album really shines and sounds much more polished and remarkable than it’s peers.
That’s not to say that Chvrches’ vocals are flawless, there are one or two tracks on the album in which Mayberry is guilty of allowing her already meek, pixie-like voice to become engrossed within the prominent synth melodies on the album. Science/Visions is somewhat tedious, and Mayberry’s vocals feel their weakest wrapped in the grandiose layers that songs like this have to offer. Vocally speaking, Chvrches also fall somewhat short on tracks featuring the male vocal accompaniment. The tracks featuring lead vocals from Doherty and/or Cook do, whilst still very strong instrumentally, strike me with a sense of longing for the familiar chirps of lead singer, Lauren Mayberry.
Instrumentally the album is as one would expect of a top rate synth-pop act in 2013. From clashing electronic drum loops, to spacey synths, it’s incredibly easy to listen to, and despite the 80s style fade outs and at times irregular melodies, it’s all very sweet and flows beautifully. Lyrically the album is difficult to criticize due to it’s pop nature and attitude. Subject in the lyrics float from love song, to breakup song, to some genuinely touching lyrics regarding siblings in The Mother We Share. If anything, the album is guilty of occasionally trying slightly too hard to force its songs to be more than pop through lyrics. Take that or leave it, most of the tracks still sound…nice.
As aforementioned, there are plenty of these kinds of acts around, but I was pleasantly surprised by Chvrches full length release. It’s perfect driving music, very cinematic, romantic and pop oriented. The fact that it flows so beautifully really makes a lot of the problems with weaker tracks somewhat redundant, the singles are there, but this album could loop several times in my car without me having to change it.