Review Summary: Take off a point if yov don’t like synthpop; take off three points if yov have no sovl
Sometimes you remember you love music. Amongst the refuses of lowbrow entertainment and guiltless displeasures shines beautiful sounds and songs that are just genuinely worth listening for. Sometimes these things are more esoteric and dark than others, and other times they’re just fun as hell and immediately captivating, completely enjoyable experiences from start to finish.
Chvrches is a Glaswegian three-piece band that likely captured the hearts of those listening with their Recover EP, which would sonically and quite literally be extended into their debut album, The Bones of What You Believe. So many right notes are hit here, so many well-crafted songs become entirely fun, so many sappy and bright lyrics and spun throughout; it’s a completely enjoyable experience from start to finish.
Singles ‘Gun’ and ‘The Mother We Share’, along with ‘Recover’ which previously had it’s own EP and has been redone to fit in better, all showcase a brighter and more poppy side of Chvrches, with bouncy but never speedy paces, Lauren Mayberry’s angelically sweet lyricism and vocals, nostalgically dated synth-effects and heavily packed instrumentation. Nothing on this album even approaches minimalist or underdeveloped, for better or worse. At times it borders on overproduced, which is quite at odds with the trend of many pop album these days, in which compositions involve thumbing basses and hard, artificial drum tracks and very little else. Which isn’t to say it doesn’t have these things, it just also includes mild guitar work, fun, multilayered synths and a variety of arrangements that never feel sparse or lazy.
Even the comparatively more brooding tracks, such as ‘Science/Visions’ and ‘Tether’, the latter of which feels some serious 80s rock influences, still feel fresh and energetic. The two tracks that feature primarily male vocals, ‘You Caught the Light’ and ‘Under the Tide’ respectively, carry themselves well and continue in a slightly darker tone, but even then songs never feel drained or burdened. Slower paced tracks relax and comfort as opposed to anything else, and the brighter and more energetic tracks excite you as you listen. Cheesy as some songs get, it never feels tacky or forced, and that’s a blessing because Chvrches occasionally straddles too close to that line.
Really, there isn’t a better adjective to describe this album than ‘fun’. It’s light, it’s fluffy, it’s not high art but you won’t go mad listening to it, and if it’s the sort of thing you’re in the mood for you won’t be disappointed. With luck, Chvrches will continue to output music of this quality, and hopefully refine their sound to an even more distinct and vibrant place.