Chvrches - The Bones of What You Believe
Debut album blindsides with hyper-melodic electro-verve and shimmering, celestial pop
Oh, you could talk at length about how the artwork of Chvrches’ debut album resembles both a star (an accurate prediction of what’s to come for the synth-pop trio) and a feminist, sci-fi take on Vitruvian man – in which Da Vinci’s depiction of human proportions (from which he argued ‘man is the model of the world’) is redrawn with ‘V’ symbols: as used by Da Vinci to represent women; as chosen by Chvrches to represent ‘U’.
And oh, you could go on about how the Glasgow band’s calling card is barbed with a thrilling riot grrrl ethos – not least in its oft-menacing lyrics delivered in vocalist Lauren Mayberry’s glorious, guileless vocals; of its use of teeth and guns and ravaged throats and thorns instead of hearts and flowers.
Then of course there is the band’s stellar indie pedigree, which sees former Blue Sky Archive Mayberry joined by The Twilight Sad’s Martin Doherty and Aereogramme / The Unwinding Hours’ Iain Cook, and which provides the latest chapter in a fascinating tale about Scotland’s increasing presence as a hotbed for electronic music.
But all of that falls by the wayside when you play the album, which blindsides with such hyper-melodic electro-verve it’s almost ludicrous. The Bones of What You Believe (and bones can be broken) is loaded with the rapturous vintage synth-anthems we’ve come to know and love from the band – ‘Lies’, ‘Gun’ and ‘Recover’ among them (look at those titles!). But there is plenty else to uncover too – from future-hits like euphoric techno-aria ‘We Sink’, gorgeous echo-pop ballad ‘Tether’ and iridescent R&B groove ‘Lungs’, to the album’s stunning penultimate track (oh, it is fierce to the bitter end), ‘By The Throat’.
‘By The Throat’ finds the band at their most Prince-like (it bears noting that they’ve covered, and symbolically recast, his hit ‘I Would Die 4 V’) – all gilded words, and shimmering, celestial pop. The heavens are theirs for the taking.