God only knows why certain people from time to time think that pop music needs new saviours. An almost ridiculous assumption, especially in an artistic form that’s infamous for its repetitive trends and retro tendencies. There’s not much wheels left to reinvent. All you can to is take a ride in the recycle carousel. And sometimes it’s the world who goes crazy while the artist wants to play his or her music. In the case of CHVRCHES it looks like Iain Cook, Martin Doherty and Lauren Mayberry are the least excited persons about the hype the music world has created around them. They just want to play music. So, of course, their highly anticipated debut longplayer The Bones Of What You Believe is not the redefinition of popular music – but in terms of catchy and great produced electropop this is really a stunning little record.
When you see CHVRCHES on stage and in interviews you can clearly sense that the band is almost too lovely and quite down to earth. They are not pretentious hipsters in fancy clothes and Lauren Mayberry seems almost shy on stage. They are just doing their job. This natural spirit might be also due to the musical background of the band. They come from different musical territories. Especially Cook who once was essential part of postrock heroes AEROGRAMME and is still one half of the follow-up project THE UNWINDING HOURS. Doherty was also part of the live line-up from wave rockers THE TWILIGHT SAD. These people know about musicality, production structures and certain rules of the game. They took everything they learned and just put it in a pop corset – the result is CHVRCHES. It might be shiny electropop with a big mainstream chart appeal. But its honestly made and with great quality.
Skipping through the longplayer you’ll sense some already known favourites like the indestructible hit singles The Mother We Share or Gun. Or Lies, one of the band’s first songs that surfaced on the web and helped creating the buzz. You might tend to stick CHVRCHES in the old “80s retro pop”-corner but that wouldn’t be fair to the music. Of course there are strong elements from the golden age of synthiepop but the Scottish trio also lives the high energy spirit of the early 90s – big pads, pumping sequences. And their drums are really huge and partly epic. It’s kind of hard to ignore the musical originals of Mr. Cook. The whole production is quite heavy, very thick and compressed. But you only recognize this along the way. There are a lot of alternative and experimental moments popping out here and there throughout the whole duration of The Bones Of What You Believe. But there’s far too many irresistible pop spirit within the songs, especially when Lauren sings.
And how good she can sing. Like a young pop queen with a certain edge inside her voice. Fragile and sweet but also powerful like in the epic chorus of Night Sky. “I’m a night sky / I’m the fire in your eyes” – watch you, you hungry lovers. Besides the catchy radio friendly pop hits, CHVRCHES also find time to discover different territory. Under The Tides features Martin on vocals, same goes for the Science/Visions, an hypnotic almost trance like duet with Lauren. What an impressive and epic piece. The thing that legitimates the whole hype around these three Scots is the fact that The Bones Of What You Believe is a really, really good pop album. Far enough hits for two albums and enough potential for a solid future. If they even want to. Maybe CHVRCHES won’t save pop but they give all the lovers and haters great new material to talk about.