First Haim, now Chvrches, it’s like I don’t know what the hell to believe anymore. There are these super pleasant, catchy, fun albums buoyed by actual talent that all the websites I go to for music review love …And I just can’t be all about them. I want to be, I mean, I really loved this year’s Tegan and Sara album. How is this different? I can’t really tell you. That’s annoying. I’ve been putting off writing about Chvrches for like a month now because I can’t really tell you why I like it, but I don’t love it.
Who are Chvrches, you ask? What do they sound like? Why is their name spelled so stupidly? I can answer two of those three questions. Chvrches are are a Scottish synthpop trio, led by singer Lauren Mayberry. They make music that just drenched in catchy synth hooks, but it’s Mayberry’s voice that has made the band the talk of town for going on a year now. There is literally nothing in the world I’m less qualified to write about than the strengths and weaknesses of someone’s singing – so, uh, she sounds good? She definitely stands out, and when you get to “Under the Tide,” which is sung by bandmate Martin Doherty (who’s not bad), you’ll be confused and angry that the lady’s pretty voice is stuck in back.
There’s also a bit of a bite to these songs. Lyrically and musically, Chvrches isn’t afraid to go dark. I think that’s what helps differentiate it in my mind from popular dance music, which, as far as I can tell, is entirely about getting slizzard and fucking. Of course that’s not the only thing thing that separates The Bones of What You Believe from Rhianna, or whoever is popular now. This music sounds like humans wrote it, for one. I get kind of a M83 vibe on some tracks, maybe a bit of New Order on others. These are favorable comparisons.
But I dunno, man. Everyone talks about “The Mother We Share,” which is a great song. I actually think the song that follows it, “We Sink,” is the best on the album. I think I really like The Bones of What You Believe, but it just doesn’t stick with me like my favorite albums do. Oh, maybe that’s my problem. Maybe I should stop trying to look for my new favorite album every year. Huh. That’s a dour note to end on… Candy for breakfast!
Favorite Tracks: “The Mother We Share,” “We Sink,” “Night Sky”