By Jack Daniel Betz
CHVRCHES sort of popped up out of nowhere, and about a year too late for their own good. One to two years ago, when Passion Pit wasn‚Äôt washed up and boring, when M83 hadn‚Äôt revealed its live setup to be a tape-recorded sham and Neon Indian were still novel, would have been a better time for these chaps to appear on the scene. However, even despite the complete fatigue we are all still feeling from the second heyday of synth-pop (and the first of “chillwave”), CHVRCHES makes it all feel new again.
CHVRCHES has a lot in common with another successful snyth-pop revival latecomer: Purity Ring. The central focus of the music are sweet, pixie-like, female vocals expressing some decently dark and heavy lyrical content. Purity Ring has more of a chopped and screwed, trip-hop feel, but still, songs like¬† “Crawlersout” sound amazingly close in style to CHVRCHES song “Gun.”
The entire record has a melancholy feel to it, which makes it seem as if it would function as a sufficient soundtrack to any number of unnamed movie scenes immediately proceeding or preceding a breakup. Even the album title (which is take from lyrics on bonus track “Strong Hand”) is one dealing with upheaval and radical, jarring change. What is a more angsty or discomforting album title than “The Bones of What You Believe”? Again, much like the music of Purity Ring‚Äôs debut, there is some true sadness and devastation sewed into the silver lining of Mayberry‚Äôs sexy, angelic, falestto. The cute, peppy presentation of those vocals and twinkling synths cannot eclipse the hurt and pain that the songs are pregnant with.
CHVRCHES led their debut full-length with a single release of “Recover,” which wouldn‚Äôt be a bad place for new audiences to start listening. Two other tracks that would get interested audiences off on the right foot would be “Gun” and XX-inspired “Tether”.