Despite having a string of infectious singles to their name, you could be forgiven for thinking that a Chvrches album was unlikely to have anything interesting to offer. An up-and-coming artist releasing all their best material early in an attempt to build hype is hardly a new concept, and with the likes of Purity Ring and AlunaGeorge already dominating the sound, it’s questionable as to whether electropop really has anything else to offer in the current chart climate. It’s a pleasant surprise that The Bones Of What You Believe is quite the little triumph, with almost every track having a charming sense of its own identity.
The music generally keeps to a fairly traditional format – there’s nothing revolutionary about a drum machine, some enjoyable pop friendly melodies and a bouncy synth beat. They do have some nice surprises up their sleeves – lead singer Lauren Mayberry’s vocals have a very distinct air of vulnerability, giving a song such as Gun a sinister air – it’s genuinely surprising to hear a lyric like ‘I will be a gun and it’s you I come for’ delivered with such pure naivety.
Another likeable aspect of this album comes from how the Glaswegian trio clearly went with a brief of ‘bigger is better’ where production is concerned. A track such as Night Sky has a nice feel of M83 to it, and the first half of the album is a particularly bouncy affair that has next to no restraints. The downside of this comes with tracks such as You Caught The Light – it’s one of the more introspective numbers on the album, and it suddenly feels disappointing and almost out of place as they suddenly attempt to convey subtlety.
Generally they do a convincing job of things, with the likes of Tether and We Sink being some of the highlights of the non-singles. The former has a nice feeling of a Robyn to it, and the latter delicately unravels to emerge as another big production number. The tracks that are already reasonably familiar still sound fresh – Lies remains one of the best songs of last year, and The Mother We Share is still a surprisingly emotional number.
Whilst it’s probably still fair to suggest The Bones Of What You Believe brings nothing exceptionally new to the table, it’s also fair to say that Chvrches do an excellent job of working with what they’ve got, and that they’re pretty experimental with their sound at times. They draw on a lot of their contemporaries for influence, and it makes for an album that’s very of its time, in the best possible way. We’d definitely recommend it.